So let me ask you… have you ever made popcorn balls? Yes? No? I would fit into the no category. Never.made.popcorn.balls but we make popcorn all the time and I make a buttery syrup mixture to pour over it. I figured that since I already made sticky popcorn, how hard could it be to form a ball, right?
I received this fun Jolly Time Popcorn Baller from Good Cook a little more than a week ago (and no, this is not a review on the baller, this is just me… trying to get the popcorn to stick together). The baller is really easy to use and you avoid those greasy burned hands. Simple enough, right? Well, using the baller was simple enough, getting the popcorn to stick together… not so much.
Before I go on, let me just say, I was avoiding corn syrup and marshmallows so don’t let my experience scare you if you use one of those two products. For us, I try to avoid corn syrup and I just didn’t want to buy (trying to stay on budget here) marshmallows. I figured I could make some sort of syrup out of sugar. Turns out that sugar can be incredibly testy. Let me show you…
It’s a good thing we buy 50lbs of popcorn kernels, right? Yes, those are gallon size bags. Here’s the break down:
- Attempt 1: Sugar and butter mixture. Added in instant coffee and it never dissolved. Sugar recrystallized.
- Attempt 2: Sugar and butter mixture. Pre-dissolved instant coffee and mixed with syrup. Sugar recrystallized.
- Attempt 3: Sugar and butter mixture. Same as above, only changed some of the measurements. Same as above.
- Attempt 4: Sugar and butter mixture. Increased sugar by double. Decided to try and do a sweet & salty mixture instead of coffee. Syrup recrystallized while stirring. Oops.
- Attempt 5: Sugar and butter mixture. (You would have thought I would have gotten the picture by now, right?) This time I tried Andes Mints with the popcorn. Do I sound like a broken record yet? Recrystallized but I did manage to get 2 balls out of it. Success… well, until one of the two balls fell apart.
- Attempt 6: Sugar and water mixture. I was doing good until I kinda burnt the sugar. Oops. But hey, I did get some balls this time and they didn’t fall apart. I also had this big idea to try and flavor like coconut cream. Didn’t work.
- Attempt 7: I went back to the way I also do it for kettle corn style… sugar and butter. Fail. Fail. Fail. However, the sugar did not recrystallized this time.
- Attempt 8: Sugar and coconut oil. Ding, ding, ding. We had a winner. And I had my coffee flavored popcorn balls (recipe coming soon).
What did I learn? I think I can live without popcorn for a few weeks at the very least. lol If you’re not going to use the corn syrup or marshmallows, melt the sugar in the pot with no liquid added until after the sugar is melted. And watch the sugar closely. It can and will burn easily.
What isn’t pictured? All the popcorn we ate that day. I think we had it for snack, lunch and snack… and maybe didn’t eat much dinner because of all the snacking. All in all, no popcorn went to waste (well, maybe our waists) and it all tasted yummy, it just wasn’t good for making balls.
Have you had any kitchen fails recently? Care to share? I’m sure I’m not alone… at least, I hope not. lol 🙂