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Popcorn balls

I'd like to try my hand at making popcorn balls with cashews for some of my neighbors for Xmas. I had a recipe years ago and, of course, I can't find it. I remember the lost recipe fondly. The popcorn and nuts didn't have to be formed into balls, but could be. Any help for me out there? Thanks!

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  1. My mother had a great recipe too and we made it every year in the 70s and early 80s - not something you see much any more. I'll take a look in the recipe book she made for me and see if the recipe is there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: krissywats

      I was making these in that same time span. Let me know if you unearth it! Thanks!

      1. re: Pat Hammond

        Ok, I found it. It is handwritten and it looks like my grandmother's handwriting. On the back of an envelope or something. I didn't know my grandma so this has to be at least 40-60 years old. And it's not complete. She does not say how much popcorn to add or nuts to add, which is unfortunate. But here's what I can parse out:

        2/3 cup corn syrup
        2 cups sugar
        2 tablespoons vinegar
        2/3 cup water
        pinch of salt
        2 tsp cream of tartar
        vanilla (she doesn't say how much) and coloring if desired
        1/2 tsp. soda (baking soda, I guess?)

        So, mix everything up to the salt and bring to a boil. Add cream of tartar and then bring to the soft boil stage (have never had any idea what that is a candy thermometer). Then add the next three ingredients (I would guess off the heat) and make into balls with popcorn and nuts.

        I can get more clarification from my mother if you need it, but she's asleep right now. Let me know.

        1. re: krissywats

          Thank you and your womenfolk! I'm just guessing, but from other recipes I've seen, I think I'll try 3-4 quarts of popped corn. I haven't seen one with water or vinegar. That's a new twist, but my recipe for brittle uses vinegar. Truly, thanks.

          1. re: Pat Hammond

            I got such a kick looking over all these old scribbled recipes with half instructions I'm considering posting a few to get help on how to finish them. Would make a great blog working through this huge recipes book my mom put together for me about ten years ago! Most of it is 50s casserole-y stuff and a lot is from old magazines but might be fun to update them. The recipes from my grandmother and aunt that are chicken scratch are so fascinating and not a one of them has full instructions. It's like THEY knew how to do it, so why write it down?

            Let me know how this recipe turns out for you. I'll make a note next to the recipe if it turns out to be a winner!

            1. re: krissywats

              My grandma's recipes contain one for some cookies where the ingredients listed include a "glug of molasses". But I never saw her use a recipe--she could bake cookies, bread, anything without ever measuring or referring to a recipe.

    2. Karo syrup should have a recipe for it. Yep! here it is: http://www.karosyrup.com/recipeDetail...

      I've made these with the plain light Karo and they were quite good, in an at-the-fair-or-zoo kind of childhood memory way.

      1 Reply
      1. re: toodie jane

        Thanks. I'll try this for a batch and see how it goes. I also put in a call to the friend I originally got my old standby recipe from. If I hear back, I'll share too. Pat

      2. Pat, any secret to getting light crispy whispy popcorn to start?

        3 Replies
          1. re: HLing

            I've heard the whirly-pop is the way to go for perfect corn? On the popcorn threads people rave about it.

            I know that the big secret to have light and crispy is making sure not to trap the steam. When I pop corn at home I make sure and lift the lid straight up about half an inch several times while popping to make sure the steam isn't trapped and gives popcorn that 'chewy' texture.

            There are loads of old popcorn posts, if you can find them that talk about the perfect corn.

            1. re: krissywats

              Thanks for the info. I've seen but never used whirly-pop. In fact I've just learned the name from you.

              I think I'll try your lid-lifting technique first before getting yet another gadget for a small kitchen.