I will immediately say that the caramel corn recipe that has “popcorn balls” written on it is misleading. I do not recommend making those simply because it is extremely hot when shaping and the mixture cools too fast so you’re left with caramel corn. But, the recipe in a caramel corn context is delicious just save your hands and time by forgoing the shaping.
The classic popcorn syrup is a definite winner, maybe my hands had had enough but that mixture was easy to shape. The syrup mixed into the popcorn cools quickly so you need to work fast but you won’t be burning your fingers. As for taste well….they taste like sweet balls of popcorn.
2 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
12c plain popcorn
This recipe requires a candy thermometer.
Put your popcorn in a large bowl, and set aside. Cover a sheet pan in wax paper, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. The pan is to set the balls on after shaping.
In a small to medium saucepan combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and boil until a candy thermometer reads 235 or softball state. Remove from heat and add in your salt, vinegar, and vanilla. Return the pot back to the heating element and continue to boil until the firm ball stage, between 242F and 248F. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and mix well. When cool enough to handle but not cold start forming your balls and placing them on your prepared sheet tray. You can oil your hands if the mixture is too sticky. Let cool completely and enjoy.
12c Plain popcorn
1/2c chopped pecans or nut of choice
1/2c butter or margarine
1c packed brown sugar
1/4c light corn syrup
1/4tsp baking soda
Preheat your oven to 300F. Place your popcorn in a greased bowl, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set both aside.
In a medium saucepan melt your butter on low. Once the butter is melted add in your brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes DO NOT STIR. When 5 minutes is over remove from heat, and add in your baking soda and vanilla. Pour over your popcorn and stir until coated. Transfer the popcorn mixture onto the baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven for 30 minutes, and stir halfway.
Remove from oven, and let cool completely before enjoying.