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Holiday Popcorn Balls

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Holiday Popcorn Balls
(c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Popcorn balls in green and red make a stunning holiday presentation. You can vary the color or flavoring of the balls to suit your taste.

If you'd like to use several different colors, you can either make two batches of sugar syrup, or make one large batch and divide it in half before coloring it. Be sure to keep the reserved sugar syrup over low heat so that it stays warm while you are working with other colors.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • Green and red food coloring
  • 12 cups popped popcorn

Preparation:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the popcorn in a large heatproof bowl sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Insert a candy thermometer.

3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the extract and food coloring of your choice.

5. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir to thoroughly coat all popcorn.

6. Allow the popcorn to sit and cool for about 5 minutes. You want the popcorn to be cool enough to handle, but still warm enough to easily shape. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray, and working carefully, scoop a handful of popcorn and press into a ball. Press firmly so that the popcorn ball holds its shape.

7. Place the popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet to cool and set completely.

Tip: I recommend making only one color of popcorn ball at a time. If you try to divide the syrup into two bowls to color it after heating it, the syrup cools quickly and will mostly likely be unworkable by the time you’re ready to pour and mold the second color. Instead, make two half batches of sugar syrup and do one color at a time, or double the amount of popcorn and make two regular batches of sugar syrup.

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