During the cold winter months, popcorn balls are a healthier alternative to chips that everyone loves. Here's a quick and easy recipe for popcorn balls that the whole family will enjoy.
Gather your ingredients. In order to make popcorn balls, you'll need the following ingredients:
- 1 bag of plain popcorn
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 1 cup of white Karo
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1tsp. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Food coloring (optional)
You'll also need a cookie sheet or two and lots of hands to help form the popcorn balls quickly.
Make the popcorn. Start by first making the popcorn. Ensure that you use popcorn that isn't seasoned with butter or even salt. It needs to be plain. If you don't have any plain bags of popcorn, then buy some kernels and pop those up on your stove. About a ¼ cup of unpopped kernels is enough. Add these to a pot with a little bit of oil in the bottom, cover, and shake the pot continuously over high heat until you don't hear the kernels popping anymore.
Make the syrup. The syrup is what will hold the popcorn balls together. But this step can be a bit dangerous, so make sure that the kids just watch for this step. In a pot, combine the sugar, Karo and water. Then boil it until it starts to make crackling sounds in the water. Remove it from the heat.
Add the flavoring. To your basic syrup, add the soda, butter and vanilla. If you decided you wanted to color your popcorn balls, add a few drops of food coloring at this stage. Stir to combine all of these ingredients.
Work quickly to mix in the syrup. Put the popcorn in a large mixing bowl (metal is best). Then pour the syrup over the entire bowl of popcorn. Try to cover as much of the popcorn as you can. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix the syrup into the popcorn. You want to have a bit of syrup on each piece of popcorn so that your popcorn balls will be more flavorful.
Form the popcorn balls. This is the step when you need to work quickly (before the syrup dries). So the more hands you have helping, the better. If you have molds, you can press the syrup-covered popcorn into them at this point. But for traditional popcorn balls, just grab a handful of popcorn and shape it into a ball. If you like, put on a pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands from becoming a sticky mess. Try to make the balls no bigger than a medium orange. Any larger and people won't be able to finish them, and any smaller and people will be disappointed.
Once you have formed a popcorn ball, place it onto a cookie sheet. Continue to form the popcorn balls until you have used up all of the popcorn. Once cooled, enjoy your popcorn ball treats!