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Remember Popcorn Balls?

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I was just discussing Halloween treats with a friend and realized I haven't seen popcorn balls in years. It was a family tradition when I was a child -- I can remember the mess of mixing the popcorn with melted caramel (?) and then coating our hands with vegetable oil so we could form the sticky balls. Then we'd wrap them in cellophane and fill a laundry tub with them to keep by the door for the trick-or-treaters. (I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town in a saner time, when home-made Halloween treats were the norm.)

That was long ago and now that I've remembered popcorn balls, I'd like to try to recreate them. And it should be a lot easier for me than it was for my mother, I should think. I'm guessing it's just a matter of melting Kraft caramels and mixing that with popcorn, but I don't know if there's more to it than that. Anybody?

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  1. I've been trying to track down my Nana's recipe with no luck so far, but I do remember that molasses was the key sticky and sweet element in her version...

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    1. re: ak

      Thanks, ak. I went into SOAR, the recipe website, and they've got several versions. The recipe below seems closest to what I remember. One thing I like about it in particular is the instruction to use butter, rather than vegetable oil, to coat your hands when forming the popcorn balls. Works just as well and adds another layer of flavor.

      Link: http://soar.berkeley.edu/recipes/snac...

    2. i had a friend who used to make caramel popcorn quite frequently. she did the corn syrup, butter, sugar thing and then i think at a certain point in the cooking process she added baking soda and it would froth up and become light and creamy. i need to get in touch with her.