corn syrup substitute

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

When summer comes around I always think about amusement parks and popcorn balls. The only time I had popcorn balls as a kid was when my family would go to the local amusement park. This park, long gone, was known for their popcorn balls. I was asked to come up with a simple gift kids could make for their dads for Father’s Day.  I decided on popcorn balls. Easy for the kids to work with. Once the popcorn balls were cooled they were wrapped in plastic wrap. The kids then took pieces of cellophane and wrapped the popcorn balls up to look like candy. Add ribbon and a Happy Father’s Day gift tag and we were good to go.

Popcorn Balls

9 c. popped popcorn
1 c. sugar
1 T. butter
1 T. vanilla
1 c. corn syrup*

Place popcorn in large bowl and set aside. Combine sugar, butter, vanilla and corn syrup in a saucepan. Heat and boil until thick, about 4 minutes. Pour over popcorn . Stir until well coated. Let cool until safe enough to handle. With buttered hands form mixture into balls. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap until ready to eat. Best eaten within a few days of making. Makes about 8.

*If you don’t have corn syrup- or don’t want to use it here is a way to make a substitute for it.


Sugar Syrup- corn syrup substitute

3  cups granulated sugar

1 cup Water

1/2  tsp. Cream of Tartar

1/4 t. salt

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook to soft-ball stage. Stir frequently.

Soft ball stage occurs at 235-245 degrees. This stage can be determined by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into a bowl of very cold water. In the water, use your fingers to gather the cooled syrup into a ball. If it has reached soft-ball stage, the syrup easily forms a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed from the water.

Remove from heat. Cool and store at room temperature. It will keep well for a month or two.


Cellophane-wrapped popcorn balls

Cellophane-wrapped popcorn balls


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