When I was a little girl, I remember my mom making popcorn balls this time of year. And… always needed our help. I love that about her! The big popcorn bowl needed to be turned as she poured a thin stream of the corn syrup mixture into the buttered popcorn. Then she would quickly stir until every last popped kernel was thoroughly coated. A stick of butter came out from the refrigerator to coat our little hands so that we could help her make the balls. It was fun to hold onto the stick of slimy butter and get our hands all greased up……on purpose! This way the sticky mixture would stay on the popcorn and not on our hands. The butter helped from our hands getting burned, too. Yes, it is a bit of a process, but oh is it worth it. I think of my mom every time I get my recipe out.
I enjoyed making them with a little help from family, too. The memories flooded my mind as I gave instructions to my grandchildren.
As we gathered around our kitchen table to create this fun and tasty treat, I cherished the chatter of backyard happenings and harvesting stories, as some family members had just come from a ride with Daddy and Grandpa. Grandpa was driving the truck, while Daddy was trucking the corn by semi-loads into the town elevator.
I especially like the recipe from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, the one I got 43 years ago for a bridal shower gift. The caramel, to me, is SO much better. The balls don’t get hard…they remain gooey, which I ADORE! Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.
- 8 cups popped corn
- ¾ C sugar
- ¾ C brown sugar
- ½ C light corn syrup
- ½ C water
- 1 t white vinegar
- ¼ t salt
- ¾ C butter
- Measure popped corn into large bowl. Combine rest of ingredients in large saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-hi heat, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring constantly, to 260 degrees on candy thermometer.
- Reduce heat to low; stir in butter until melted. Pour syrup in thin stream over corn in bowl, stirring until corn is well coated. Cool slightly. Butter hands; shape mixture into balls, whatever size you wish.