Holiday Mom Foods: Popcorn Balls

It takes balls to celebrate Hallowe’en the way Mom did. Popcorn balls, that is.

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[Note from Serene: Carin and I have been doing some Mom Food dates (see the Contribute page for more details), and this time we tackled her mom’s popcorn balls. Basically, when we do a Mom Food date, I make the recipe from her description of what her Mom Food was like, and she writes the post. I used this recipe from Paula Deen, but I made a mistake and put the vanilla in before cooking the syrup. The balls turned out well nonetheless. The orange color was made with 5 drops of yellow food coloring and 1 drop of red.]

It takes balls to celebrate Hallowe’en the way Mom did.

Popcorn balls, that is. I remember helping Mom mix the hot Karo corn syrup mixture into the big roaster full of popped corn, then forming the balls with buttered hands. We made them with orange colored and brown syrup; I think the brown was probably made with dark Karo.

popcorn balls
Photo by Carin Huber

Sadly, both Mom and her recipe box are gone, so I can only guess at some of her recipes. Fortunately, there is no shortage of popcorn ball recipes on the internet, and I have only to find one using corn syrup to bring back a taste of Mom’s Hallowe’en. As with any sugar candy, you’ll have better results if you make this on a dry, sunny day. If you think they’ll last beyond the day you make them, you might want to wrap the individual popcorn balls in lightly buttered wax paper, to keep them from melding into a single mass of candied popcorn.

popcorn balls
Photo by Carin Huber

Happy Haunting!

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13 thoughts on “Holiday Mom Foods: Popcorn Balls”

  1. ok I’m making these with my boys today! Thanks Serene for finding a simple old fashioned way to celebrate. No need for lighted inflatable haunted houses on my front lawn, no purple lights and 23 pumpkins on the porch, I want simple and this is perfect! Thanks so much :)

    also that square black plate? I HAVE THE SAME ONES!!! almost a full set too

    1. Aw, cool! James has this rant he does about how every holiday has become the same thing: people decorate their houses for halloween the way they used to only do for christmas, for example, and have you seen those easter ornament trees? Wacky! I’m with you; simple is best!

      If you have almost a full set of the plates, by the way, you’re MUCH less clumsy than I am. :-)

  2. Hey Serene we made these today! YUM! I salted them because I’m a freak, but damn they were great! Thanks again for posting such a sweet simple snack.

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