Popcorn balls are a simple-to-make treat that combines a crunchy texture and sweet taste. Many people make popcorn balls around Halloween but they can be enjoyed at any time during the year. Store-bought popcorn balls are available in stores, particularly in autumn, but making your own allows you to vary ingredients to create your own flavor. There are many recipes for popcorn balls, and ingredients such as powdered sugar can be used to sweeten the snack. Corn syrup is another ingredient regularly used to make sweet popcorn balls.
Things You'll Need
- Cooking oil
- Paper towels
- Large mixing bowl
- 12 cups popped popcorn
- 3 cups chopped mixed nuts or dried fruits (optional)
- Wooden spoon
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Candy thermometer
- Cookie sheets
- Wax paper
Pour a small amount of cooking oil onto a paper towel. Wipe the towel around the inside of a large mixing bowl to create a non-stick surface. Discard the paper towel when you're finished.
Pour 12 cups popped popcorn into your mixing bowl. Stir in 3 cups of chopped nuts, such as pecans or peanuts, or dried fruits. You can give your popcorn balls a saltier or sweeter taste depending upon what type of nuts or dried fruit you add to the mix.
Place 1 1/4 cup white sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup butter in a pot. Stir the ingredients while heating them to 260 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.
Pour the corn syrup mixture over the popped popcorn, nuts and fruits in the bowl. Mix thoroughly with your wooden spoon, turning the ingredients over in the bowl and stirring to evenly distribute the sweet corn syrup solution. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before making the balls.
Rub margarine over your fingers and the palms of your hands so the popcorn ball mixture doesn't stick to your hands as you form the balls. Pick up a handful of the mixture at a time and make a ball. Place the balls on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and allow them to cool completely.
Tips & Warnings
- Make your own popcorn ball recipes by adding favorite ingredients or flavors. Peanut butter or caramel bits add a different flavor. Colorful cereal can be added in to make your popcorn balls look more festive.
- Store cooled popcorn balls in an airtight container.