I never ate these as a kid. I’m vaguely aware that versions of these (toxic pink, brittle and oily) exist and probably still roam bake sales and birthday parties to the delight of sweet-toothed urchins everywhere. But I like popcorn, and I like sugar, so I figured they would probably taste good if I took matters into my own hands. I modified the Shmooed Food recipe slightly, and left them plain because I didn’t have any dried fruit/nuts around that didn’t scream “health food alert!!!”, and they were super just the way they were, tossed in a mandarin box and brought to Ze Ladies Crafting Day (and munched happily by all there). Very caramel-y!
12 cups air-popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup syrup of your choice (brown rice, corn… I used corn b-cause I’m poor)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
oil (for forming the balls)
1. Pop the corns. Eat some corns to get in the mood. Put 12 cups of the corns into a metal pot/bowl and stick them in a warm oven.
2. Bring the syrup, sugar, water and salt to boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Once it boils, turn down the heat and maintain that boil until the temperature reaches 250-270 degrees (lower for chewy/higher for crispy). A candy thermometre is nice for this, but you can also drop a bit of the sugar into a glass of ice-cold water – if it turns into a firm or hard ball, you’re good to go. (this took me about 20 minutes, but I’m a weeny with magmic pots of sugar and I kept the heat low).
3. Once the sugar is at the right temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Take the corns out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over top and STIR STIR STIR with a wooden spoon to coat every kernel.
4. Oil your hands and form the sticky goodness into as many balls as you like. I got 22.
5. Scrape the extra syrupy popcorn out of the bowl and eat it! mmmm.