Old Fashioned Kettle Popcorn Maker



Old Fashioned Kettle Popcorn Maker

Does anyone even make popcorn balls anymore? I kind of love them and not just because they remind me of Laura and Almanzo in These Happy Golden Years.

Okay, maybe it’s because of that.

But I also think it’s because I’m about 87 years old on the inside and nothing makes me happier than popping corn on the stove then mixing it with a molassesy sugar syrup and forming perfect little popcorn balls while listening to Christmas music and sipping my tea. Help.

Truthfully, I don’t know why more people don’t make these anymore. They’re like big balls of kettle corn and are perfectly lovely alongside a cup of tea OR a glass of champagne. Ever tried the kettle corn and champagne pairing? It’s pretty darn fabulous.

If you’re going to make these, PLEASE go the extra mile {errr 10 minutes} of popping your corn on the stove the old fashioned way. That way you know it’s not coated with all the weird things that may come in the jiffy pop bag. Random sidenote: Once, when I was 14 little, I popped corn on the stove and then ate it with milk for breakfast because I remembered reading how Ma used to make it that way for Laura, Mary and Carrie. It wasn’t very good. I don’t recommend that.

These popcorn balls were super fun to make and didn’t have that intense-all-you-can-taste-is-molasses flavor. I wanted a little of that, mainly to keep the old fashioned taste, but I found these tasted more like kettle corn than anything. Love that sweet and salty combo!

So next time you get the desire to bake cookies, why not try making popcorn balls instead? Dare to be different, my friends. Dare to be different.

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

Print this Recipe!

yields about 18-20 popcorn balls

Ingredients:

1 cup corn for popping (to yield about 15 cups popcorn)

1 tsp oil

1 cup water

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp molasses

1 1/2 tsp salt

special tools —

candy thermometer

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Once hot, add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Increase the heat to high and shake the pot occasionally until all the corn has popped. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Increase the heat to high and boil the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees (hard ball stage). This will take approximately 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just boil the sugar for 20 minutes and then proceed.

When the sugar mixture reaches the hard ball stage, remove from heat and stir in the molasses and vanilla extract. Pour this over the popcorn and toss well. Sprinkle salt over the popcorn and then toss well. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Lay out a long piece of wax paper on your counter. With buttered hands, form the popcorn into balls and line up on the wax paper. They might appear to fall apart at first, but cup them with your hands until a tight ball has formed.

Repeat with remaining popcorn. The popcorn balls will keep up to a week in a sealed plastic container.

Time:

1 hour

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