Simply Sweetened Popcorn Balls

What goes better with mindless television than popcorn?

These popcorn balls are super easy to make and have a subtle sweetness.  I really appreciate the fact that although this recipe contains corn syrup, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, the sweetness is not overpowering and the taste of natural popcorn really comes through.

Simply Sweetened Popcorn Balls
Makes about 8 baseball-sized popcorn balls.

♦  1 1/2 bags of natural, microwave popcorn ¤¤

¤¤  I had a little “incident” — for whatever reason, only half of my first bag popped in the microwave, so I had to pop another bag.  I think this recipe would work fine with just one 3.5 oz. bag of popcorn.  Better luck to you with the popping!!

♦  1/2 cup granulated sugar
♦  1/2 cup dark corn syrup
♦  2 tablespoons brown sugar
♦  wooden spoon
♦  bowl of cold water
♦  aluminum foil
♦  baking sheet

Optional: mix-ins (chopped pistachios, pecan pieces, chopped pralines (oh my goodness!), dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (any flavor – white, dark, milk, etc.)

Method:

Begin by popping your popcorn in the microwave.  It takes mere minutes!

While the popcorn is going, mix together the sweet binder (the granulated sugar, dark corn syrup, and brown sugar) over low heat in a large pot on the stovetop.  The resulting sticky syrup will be a caramel color.

Increase the heat on the syrup to medium, so that it bubbles just slightly.

Pour the popped popcorn into the pot and use a wooden spoon to aggressively mix the popcorn with the syrup so that each piece is coated.

Remove the pot from the heat and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Allow the popcorn to cool a bit so that it can be handled.  Then, add any mix-ins to the popcorn (if using) and stir to combine.

Make popcorn balls with your hands, rolling the kernels together.   Dip your fingers in the cold water to help prevent too much sticking!

I tried to show the sugary coating on these...

Children-Friendly Children can help to form the popcorn balls and will enjoy the sticky mess!  You might not though!!

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