Friday, October 31, 2014

Jump into Fall

 My apologies for having been away so long.  It was a summer of great sadness for me as my husband was laid to rest.  Now it is time to change as the seasons do, to take a deep breath and......
With Three Popcorn Ball Recipes

There's something warm and wonderful about gathering in the kitchen with children anxious for the sweet treat that will soon be shared.  Even if the children show up later, knowing that we 'made' something for them is special. 
These recipes are from family members collected long, long ago. In each case,  the recipe has a twist 
(which may be omitted).
This first one, my Grandmother's, is the oldest.  The worms, mixed in and sprinkled on are a just-for-fun addition.
 Recipe #1

Muddy, Wormy Popcorn Balls
1/2 c Molasses
1/2 c. Corn Syrup
2 tsp Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
5 - 6 cups Salted Popped Corn (1 Microwave Bag)
1 bag of Gummy Worms

Combine first 3 ingredients in pan over medium heat. Cook to a brittle but not crack ball stage. Remove from heat. Stir in Butter. Pour over popped corn & stir to coat. Shape into 6 to 8 balls.

Opinion: This was by far the easiest, quickest recipe. I think the flavor is 'old time' perfect. The worms, mixed in and sprinkled on, are a just-for-fun addition, perfect memory makers for an evening of thriller movies with the children.

This second one is more for adult tastes.
Recipe #2
Almond & Raw Sugar Popcorn Balls
2/3 c. Light Corn Syrup
2 c. Raw Cane Sugar
2/3 c. Boiling Water
2 Tbsp Vinegar

Combine the above ingredients in a heavy pan, then add 2 tsp Cream of Tarter
 Boil to soft ball stage. (Notice the rich nutty color from the raw sugar)
Remove from heat. Stir in:
2 tsp Almond Extract
1/8 tsp Baking Soda.

 Pour over 2 bags of Microwave Popcorn (appx. 10 cups) to which 1 cup of Sliced Almonds has been added.Mix and mix and mix well. Butter your hands. Form into balls. Cool on wax paper. Makes 8 large balls.
WARNING: Hot sugar is really, really, really hot. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Opinion: This is my second favorite. Love the way the addition of the baking soda caused the entire mixture to froth up. This may be the reason it coats the corn more easily.

# 3 is Colorful & Fun for the kids
 Recipe # 3

This recipe made more than twice as many popcorn balls. They were slightly smaller than recipe #1 but I think the real difference is that they didn't pack together tightly. The pieces stuck lightly to each other and the resulting balls are significantly lighter in weight and less dense than the first batch. Another difference is that this mixture cooled very quickly making the mixing process a bit more difficult. I had to work very fast.
"O" My Goodness Colorful Popcorn Balls
In a heavy pan with buttered sides, combine the following:
2 c. White Sugar
1 1/2 c. Water
1/2 c. Light corn Syrup
1 tsp. Vinegar

Cook to hard-ball stage. Remove from heat and add:
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Pour over 2 bags of freshly popped microwave popcorn (appx. 10 cups*) to which 4 cups of colored cereal has been added. Work as quickly as possible, mixing well to coat. Butter your hands and form into balls. Makes 18.

* If you are using regular popcorn instead of Microwave bags, add 1/2 tsp. SALT to sugar mixture.

Opinion: This recipe was a bit more difficult in the coating process and hardened very quickly. I really struggled with it but it was worth the effort according to the grandchildren.