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Popcorn Balls

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9 cups popped popcorn
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Remove all unpopped kernels from popped popcorn. Put popcorn in a greased baking pan. Keep popcorn warm in a 300* oven while making syrup.

2. For syrup mixture, butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils, stirring to dissolve the sugar (about 6 minutes). Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, till thermometer reaches 250* (about 20 minutes).

3. Remove saucepan from heat, remove the thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over hot popcorn and stir gently to coat. Cool till the popcorn mixture can be handled easily. With buttered hands, quickly shape the mixture into 3-inch diameter balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Recipe makes about 10 popcorn balls.


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