Halloween is fast approaching. It's my favorite holiday and not just for the candy. I love the costumes, I love ghosts and ghouls, and I love the celebration of Autumn.
Many years ago, in my small rural high school, even our teachers shared food and recipes with the students. One year my algebra teacher brought in wonderful popcorn balls. Luckily, everyone got to enjoy them no matter how badly we were doing in class!
Since then, I've loved this simple but tasty treat during the Halloween season. Once upon a time these would have been given away to neighborhood kids as a "treat" but unfortunately, in today's world, anything not prepackaged and made with chemicals is frowned upon. Still, they make a great complement to a "Horror Movie Fest." In fact, they'll be making an appearance when me and my best pal, Sandy have ours the Saturday before Halloween!
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups popped popcorn
Heat all ingredients except popcorn to simmering in dutch oven or medium stock pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in cooked popcorn. Cook, stirring constantly until popcorn is well coated (about 3 minutes). Allow to cool slightly. Dip hands in cold water and shape into balls about 2 1/2 inches in size. Place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container or wrap individually in plastic wrap. Makes about 8 balls.
Note: you can add a few drops of food coloring if you want colored popcorn balls.
For a Caramel variation: Substitute packed brown sugar and dark corn syrup for granulated sugar and light corn syrup.
For a Chocolate variation: Add 2 Tbls. cocoa to the sugar.
Most people will go for the microwave popcorn, but if you can bring yourself to make it the "old fashioned" way on stovetop, your popcorn balls will be much better. If you do use microwave popcorn use a natural popcorn without butter (I like Pop Secret Homestyle or Orville Redenbacker Natural).