Thursday, November 3, 2011

popcorn balls - a family tradition

My earliest memories of popcorn balls are actually Halloween related.  A neighbor, Isabel, used to give them out on Halloween (followed by the neighbor that gave ice cream sandwiches - we were lucky kids!).  Over the years popcorn balls have become a staple at the farm during the holidays.  Some years it is Thanksgiving week, some years Christmas week, this year it was Halloween weekend (hey we had a snowstorm, what else were we to do?).  Lizzie was very excited about the prospect of making popcorn balls and we had been talking it up for weeks.  This year she even got to help us shape them.   I can't believe I didn't get a photo of the finished product, I must have been too busy eating them!

Recipe for Popcorn Balls:

Make a big bowl of popcorn (for us it was 2 batches from the popcorn popper)

Then we doubled this old family recipe:

1 Cup molasses
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 teas salt
1 Tab butter

Bring to hard ball stage (about an hour)... stir constantly.

A few notes:  this is an old recipe and it doesn't take anywhere near an hour to get to the hardball stage, I wonder if the quality of heat from modern stoves makes a difference.  To test, we drop a few drops in cold water, if it stays in a ball and hardens up as it drops to the bottom of the glass, it is ready. 
Pour over the bowl of popcorn and stir/mix a bit with a couple wooden spoons.  The candy is VERY hot! 
To form balls, wet hands with cold water and dive in!  I rinse with cold water between forming each ball, this helps keep the candy from sticking and helps keep me from getting burned by the hot candy. 

Thats pretty much all she wrote!

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