I remember a lot about my childhood but, baking with my grandma, mom and aunts are among my favorite memories. I lived in Indiana for a few years and my aunt Wanda lived close by. We would visit her often and she was always baking something. She had 4 boys and all their friends hung out at her place. Sometimes she would let me help and I thought I was so grown up. By the time I left, I wanted to stop by the drugstore and get makeup but, my mom would remind me that I was only 7 and “nice” 7 year old girls didn’t need make up. Oh well, at least I had Wanda’s candy to focus on. I took the memory of Wanda’s popcorn balls and ran with it. I wanted to make them like little pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. Yes! I am obsessed with pumpkin patches this year. Pumpkins are adorable so can you blame me?
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 quarts popped corn
- Orange food coloring (I used a few drops of AmeriColor Electric Orange)
- Green Royal Icing in a piping bag with a leaf tip #352
- Pop 5 quarts of popcorn and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Cook until it reaches 255-260 degrees. Remove from heat and add vanilla and orange food coloring and stir until well blended. (Add as much color until you reach the desired color.)
- Immediately pour the sugar mixture over popcorn and stir continuously, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl, until popcorn is thoroughly coated. Make sure the mixture is cool enough to touch before you start making the pumpkin balls!
- Butter your hands really good and start shaping popcorn into tight balls. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool. You may need to re-butter your hands when things get sticky.
- Add tootsie rolls for the stems or little stick. (I used sticks for the photo but, if I were serving to kids, I would use tootsie rolls.)
- Add a leaf with the green icing and have yourself a pumpkin patch!