I love teaching to my homeschooling group. And I think they love me teaching them. I mean who wouldn't want food as part of their class. So today we made the Corn-Olive Salad and then for dessert we made popcorn balls. Now tell me what kid would not want to make popcorn balls. these were simple stupid and actually healthy. I even convinced one mother to forgo her microwave popcorn for it takes only 2 more minutes than microwaved popcorn and much healthier. I wish my son and husband would let go of the microwave, I could use thee extra space.
I did inform the children that this would definitely be a messy dish to make, they were champing at the bit to dive in, and "Get down and dirty!" As my favorite little boy chef said in class today. This is also not a dish you want to let children do unsupervised. You are dealing with boiling sugars...always a dangerous combination. So this would be a great dish for parents and kids to do together. So look in your cupboards and see what you can find for your next party where there are children involved.
1/2 cup honey
2 T maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 t vanilla
6 cups POPPED popcorn
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine honey, maple syrup and water. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture becomes thick enough to form a ball when you drop 1/4 t into a glass of VERY cold water.
Stir in vanilla, then pour syrup over popcorn.
When syrup mixture has cooled slightly, lightly oil your hands and toss popcorn to thoroughly coat with syrup. Form into 12 balls and serve immediately or wrap in wax paper to store.
** This recipe says to lightly oil your hands, but trust me when I say you will need to pretty much slather your hands in oil. I am not talking to the point where they are dripping in oil, but you do need a decent amount on your hands, or trust me they popcorn will stick to your hands**
Also, when you scoop up the popcorn to start forming a ball, you want to cup your hands together in an interlocking formation. For those who know what I am talking about, it is the way you hold your hands when you are rolling out dough in your hands for homemade biscuits. But in this instance, you want to have too much popcorn, for you are going to star squishing the popcorn down to make it smaller.
You will do this slowly and steadily. And you will have to use your muscles. The children thought I was kidding when I told them this tidbit of information. I mean how could forming popcorn balls be hard on the muscles....they learned to listen to the Cooking Lady. Once you have formed the balls into the shape you want, just put them on a platter and serve. Remember, the more you squish, the more compact they will become but the better for handling and eating they will be.