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Popcorn Balls

4 qt lightly salted popcorn
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 ts vanilla

Place the popped corn in a large buttered mixing bowl and put in
a warm oven (110 to 120 degrees F). Put wax paper or aluminum foil
on a counter top. Measure the sugar, corn syrup, and water into a
3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and wash down the sides of the
pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, to avoid sugar granules.
Cook to the hard ball stage (264 to 270 degrees F). Remove from
the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla.

Take the popcorn from oven and slowly pour the syrup over it while
stirring thoroughly with a large, longhandled spoon. Butter or oil
the hands very well, and as soon as the mixture can be handled
without burning, take up enough popcorn into the hands to be pressed
into a ball.

Space the balls onto the wax paper or aluminum foil until cool.
Work rapidly so that the syrup will not harden before the balls
can be formed. Store in freezer bags or in tightly covered containers,
for the syrup will draw moisture and make the popcorn soggy. If to
be used for decoration, wrap the popcorn balls in small plastic
bags or plastic wrap. This recipe yields about 12 rather good size
popcorn balls.


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