For those of you who are contemplating what you’ll be handing out to trick-or-treaters this year, I’d like to be the first to discourage you from going with popcorn balls.
When my siblings and I were young trick-or-treaters, we hated the people who handed out popcorn balls. I know these poor, well-meaning types spent all afternoon getting creative and actually hand-making these nasty corn-n-sugar chew toys, but their efforts were, shall we say, unappreciated. We felt strongly that Halloween treats should exclude anything that might benefit the body, like, say, corn fiber.
I would go so far as to say that the popcorn ball houses were the ones most likely to be TP-ed by the end of the evening.
So, if you insist on making popcorn balls for Halloween handouts, go ahead, but you are a masochist, for two reasons:
1) you will wake up November 1st with a house wrapped in toilet paper, and
2) making popcorn balls is a pain in the ass, and hazardous.
Check out this recipe I found:
You mix up 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 tsp. vinegar in a saucepan. You cook all this together until it reaches what the recipe calls the hard stage, 250 degrees. (If you ask me, the recipe hit the hard stage when I had to assemble six ingredients and a candy thermometer.)
Then you stir in a teaspoon of vanilla and pour the whole mess over 5 quarts of popped corn, which hopefully you remembered to pop and keep warm in the oven before you started with the sugar mess.
So, you pour it on and mix it around, and with buttered hands you form it into balls. The last words of the recipe are, “Try not to burn your hands.” (I, for one, find these words discouraging.)
So, there you have it, popcorn balls: undertake to make and distribute at your own risk.
Me, I’m sticking with the Junior Mints.