Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Perfect Popcorn Ball

By Melody
I set out on a grand journey to create the perfect popcorn ball... yesterday!  The kids have their last Wee Ball game of the Fall season tonight, and I am "up to bat" for providing treats for our little ball players.  I searched the internet for the perfect recipe, and read up on all the modifications, tips, tricks, and what-not-to-do's.  And, I'm proud to say I think I've nailed it.  However, popcorn balls come in all variations, and BEWARE mine is a chewy, yet crunchy, and it is a sweet variation -- the perfect popcorn ball in my world.  And, for the kids and hubby as well.  Based on my testing and research, here's my TT123 "modified" recipe -- it will yield about 20 popcorn balls (and allows for taste testing along the way of loose gooey popcorn)...


  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter (DO NOT USE MARGARINE!!!)
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup small marshmallows (I used the multi-colored ones)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (or other flavoring you'd like to "test")
  • 5 quarts (roughly a little more than 20 cups) plain popped popcorn (Use the real air-popped popcorn if you can, otherwise revert to the microwaveable popcorn)
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, margarine, cold water, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Carefully combine the hot mixture with the popcorn, coating each kernel.
  2. Grease hands with some PAM spray and quickly shape the coated popcorn into balls before it cools. Wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Now for some TT123 tips/tricks for creating the Perfect Popcorn Ball:

  1. A quick way to make balls is to oil a cup (I used a measuring cup).  Stuff coated popcorn in. A tap to the bottom of the cup onto waxed paper leaves perfectly-proportioned balls! Just form them into more of a circle (the kids were good at this part), wrapped them with cellophane, and placed a little Halloween sticker on each one.
  2. For a little extra sweetness, I modified the original recipe by adding 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Yum!
  3. Make sure to grease up those hands -- these suckers are sticky! 
  4. Instead of using microwaveable popcorn, use the real stuff -- pop your own if you have a air popper.  ***TT123 Trusty Tip*** Store your popcorn kernels in the freezer (even microwaveable popcorn).  Why?  It eliminates "old maids" (a/k/a unpopped kernels); and it seems to pop fuller and fresher than if you don't freeze it -- over time the kernels loose moisture.  The moisture in the hulls is what helps those kernels pop.  If stored in the freezer, that moisture remains longer.
  5. Fresh popcorn works best -- do NOT use that old popcorn (microwaveable or not) that's been setting for a few months (or more) in the cupboard.  
  6. Do NOT (I repeat) use margarine...use BUTTER.  The flavor is better, and less artificial in all respects.   

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