Candy Cane Popcorn Balls
When I was a little girl, my mother and I made these popcorn balls for family and friends at Christmas. Now my husband and I carry on the tradition, turning out more than 250 each December-and still our list keeps growing!
Total TimePrep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min. + cooling
- 4 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 24 miniature candy canes
- Place popcorn in a large greased bowl or roasting pan; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the water, baking soda and vanilla; set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine corn syrup and butter; heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Add sugar; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reaches 230° (thread stage), about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla mixture (mixture will foam) until blended. Immediately pour over popcorn, stirring to coat evenly. Cool for about 5 minutes, stirring several times.
- When cool enough to handle, firmly shape with buttered hands into 2-in. balls. Insert straight end of candy cane in the center of each ball.
Editor's NoteWe recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
Nutrition Facts1 each: 179 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (27g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.
Originally published as Candy Cane Popcorn Balls in Country Woman Christmas 2003