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Tuesday, January 25

Great grandma’s popcorn balls

Popcorn, popped
3 quarts
2/3 cups
1 ½ cups
½ teaspoon
½ teaspoon
½ cup
Vanilla extract
3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons
  1. After popping the popcorn, keep it warm in a large metal bowl in the oven at 300°F, until needed.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine molasses, sugar, vinegar, salt, and water.
  3. Stir constantly until the mixture boils, and reaches the hard boil stage (250°F).
  4. Remove from heat, and thoroughly mix in butter and vanilla.
  5. Slowly pour mixture over the bowl of popcorn, and gently mix so as not to break up the popcorn kernels.
  6. Butter your hands, and form baseball-sized balls by pressing the mixture together gently but firmly.
  7. Place popcorn balls on a lightly buttered cookie sheet or wax paper.
  8. Cool completely before wrapping.
Great grandma Patterson would wrap her popcorn balls with a large sheet of brown butcher’s paper, and hand them out to Halloween trick-or-treaters in the tiny town of Ripley, Oklahoma. Hopefully such comfort food isn’t the last remains of our simpler, more trusting times in small communities.

Recipe courtesy of my Mom, who helped grandma prepare the popcorn balls for the masses. As I'm told, about 30 children knocked on great grandma's door and chanted 'trick or treat?' to earn their prize. I was one of them for 6 years before she ended the tradition.

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