Preface: If you've never tried the very best Caramel Corn recipe, aka, Cracker Crack, from one of the best former food bloggers turned cookbook author-to-be, Whitney, you've been warned: this stuff is addictive. (For updates on Whitney's sure to be da bomb cookbook, click here)
I had a hankerin' for some popcorn balls and started tweaking Whitney's recipe with an eye on a recipe from this month's Eating Well magazine's ideas to create homemade popcorn balls. The boys, a neighbor friend and I made some up. Yeah, they didn't last long.
Here's a crucial tip for making popcorn balls: have a bowl of ice water next to you and dip your hands in it every time you shape a new ball. The balls won't stick to your hands and will form more quickly from the cold.
Homemade Popcorn Balls
6 cups air-popped corn (either done in an air popper, on the stove top, or using this trick)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup corn syrup*
1/4 miniature chocolate chips (optional)
unsweetened coconut (optional)
Place the popcorn in a large bowl.
In a pyrex glass cup or bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup*. Stir well. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave again for one minute, or until the mixture turns a bit darker than it was originally. Pour over the popcorn:
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and continue to stir:
Dip your hands in the ice water for several seconds. Pick up about a 1/2 cup of the popcorn mixture and form into a ball, then press and hold in a ball shape for a few seconds. Place on a cookie sheet to cool:
Repeat with the remaining popcorn mixture, working quickly so the popcorn does not harden too much before being shaped into balls. Make sure you dip your hands in the ice water between forming each popcorn ball.
Makes 12 popcorn balls.
*you can try agave nectar in substitution for the corn syrup. Also, when purchasing corn syrup, read the label carefully...some generic brands are actually made out of high-fructose corn syrup. I want you to use the real deal--just plain Jane corn syrup.
Life is sweet,