Pop's Molasses Popcorn Balls & Taffy
I grew up making this with my family every fall. As soon as the weather got cool, we always knew it was popcorn ball & taffy time, burnt hands and all. We loved every minute of it. Mom would pop popcorn all day with a little old fashioned popper. Sometimes it would burn and stink up the house...lol. We always made 2 big grocery bags full. We needed alot so we had plenty to share with friends & family. Someone always came over when they knew Pop was making them. Pop always made the syrup and let me help when I got old enough. I always loved being in the kitchen cooking something. The flavor of this candy is somewhat like Werthers Originals.Posting this recipe has brought back many wonderful memories thanx.
In a large 4 quart saucepan with handle, mix all ingredients together. Over med heat, bring to boil, stirring frequently. Tip the pan slightly to melt the sugar crystals on the sides, scraping down with a wooden spoon. Continue to boil to the hard crack stage (300-310 degrees on a candy thermemeter) or until it threads and turns hard when drizzled into a cup of cold water (the method my Pop used). Have a huge bowl ready with the popcorn in it with plenty of room to stir hot syrup into the popcorn. Also have butter and a bowl of cold water handy. If you are making taffy, also butter a few plates, depending on how many people are pulling taffy.
Pour syrup over popcorn while someone quickly stirs the batch. Be careful to keep hands out of the way of the syrup as it causes bad burns. Everyone making the popcorn balls should butter their hands and dip them in the cold water. Quickly grab up some of the mixture and form into a ball about 2-3" around. Work quickly as it hardens fast and will burn your hands if you don't. A few years ago, I found popcorn ball molds on the internet. These are great, especially for the kids.