Popcorn has been a favorite year ’round snack for Americans ever since the first Thanksgiving, when the son of an Indian chief brought the early colonists several bushels of “popped corn” in a deerskin bag.
Whether it’s for a July picnic or for Christmas decorations, it still takes only a moment to transform a few ounces of kernels and bubbling oil into a fluffy heap of hospitality and good eating!
Popcorn Balls are always welcome in the Trick or Treat bags of marauding youngsters on Halloween, and busy housewives find that there are many new and different kinds of popcorn balls which lend variety to an old favorite.
Quick caramel popcorn balls
Melt 1/2 lb. package dairy-fresh caramels (28 caramels) with 2 tablespoons water in top of double boiler. Mix thoroughly with 2 quarts popped and salted corn.
Keep hands wet or lightly-greased when shaping balls, and be careful not to burn hands with hot syrup.
Light popcorn balls (basic recipe)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
Cook to 260 degrees F or soft crack stage. Pour over 2 quarts salted popcorn. Mix thoroughly and mold into balls.
Variations of basic recipe (above)
Pastel popcorn balls
Delicately tint cooked syrup with food coloring. Add peppermint, lemon, maple, wintergreen or other flavoring.
Chocolate popcorn balls
Add 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate and one teaspoon vanilla or peppermint flavoring to cooked syrup.
Honey popcorn balls
Replace corn syrup with 1 cup honey. When syrup is cooked, add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Cinnamon popcorn balls
Replace water with 1 cup strained orange juice. After syrup is cooked, add 4 tablespoons crushed red cinnamon candies and grated peel of 1 orange.
Fruit ‘n’ spice popcorn balls
Cook 1 cup mince meat with syrup. Remove from heat and add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.