Pop's Molasses Popcorn Balls & Taffy

Dee Stillwell Recipe

By Dee Stillwell LILLYDEE

This recipe has been in our family for over 100 years. My dad's mother would make & pull this taffy on a big hook that was on her kitchen doorway. She would then sell it at the local market in Alberta, Canada.
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.


Recipe Rating:
 4 Ratings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Ingredients

2 c
sugar
1 c
light karo syrup
1/2 c
dark molasses (2/3cup for more intense flavor)
1/4 c
butter
1/2 tsp
salt
1/2 c
water

Directions

1
We always double this recipe so we have enough to make taffy and popcorn balls. My pop always made 2 double batches.
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.
2
To make taffy: pour about 1 cup of syrup on each greased plate. Let cool awhile so u can start handling it. Be careful as it is very hot. As soon as you can handle it like a hot potato, start pulling it between your hands, until a light golden brown is achieved. The longer you pull it the lighter it becomes. Twist into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Put on buttered plate to harden and cool. Break apart and store in airtight container or wrap individually in candy wrappers. Taffy will stick together if you don't keep it sererated. Have fun and I hope this recipe becomes a family tradition for you as well.
  • Comments

  • 1-5 of 33
  • user
    Wendy Rusch snooksk9 - Nov 29, 2010
    yummm I love molasses taffy and I dying to try the popcorn balls...how much popcorn do you use?
  • user
    Dee Stillwell LILLYDEE - Nov 29, 2010
    I use a hot air popper and put a paper grocery bag under the spout. Then just keep making it till I get a bag full. I usually buy the big bottle of Orville Redinbacher. I make a triple batch of syrup for a bag of popcorn so I have enough to make taffy. Be sure to use a big enough pot to allow for it to bubble up as it boils. I would suggest the 2/3 cup molasses if u really like it. I know I do. I will have to post my recipe for the best molassses cookies soon.
  • user
    Wendy Rusch snooksk9 - Nov 29, 2010
    Deeeeee I got you beat on the best molasses cookies, first, MINE are the best!!! and second, I already have mine posted...lol lol Kidding of course...everyone had such yummy stuff, always open to try new!!! :)

    So...If I make a double batch to a paper bag of popcorn, I should come out about right...if I don't want to make the taffy?
    Thanks Dee!!!
  • user
    Dee Stillwell LILLYDEE - Nov 29, 2010
    lol...ur a kick...yes that should be about right. It depends too, how heavily u coat the popcorn with the syrup.
    Leftover popcorn = snacks, or tree garland..haha
  • user
    Wendy Rusch snooksk9 - Nov 29, 2010
    Thank You Darlin!!!