Makes about 2 dozen
12 cups popped JOLLY TIME® American’s Best® Yellow Popcorn
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup maple-flavored syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
· Place warm popped corn in a large greased bowl.
· Combine corn and maple syrups, vinegar, and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reaches hard-ball stage on a candy thermometer (250˚F). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and spices.
· Slowly pour syrup over popcorn, tossing with a fork until well combined. Using wet or butter hands, quickly form mixture into 2- to 3-inch balls. Place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet to cool completely and set. Wrap in plastic and tie with ribbons.
PRAIRIE GOLD CRUNCH CAKE:
Double the recipe above, making about 4 dozen 2-inch popcorn balls. Purchase a medium-sized Styrofoam cone (about 4 inches in diameter at the base, about 9 inches tall) at a craft store. While the popcorn balls are still a bit sticky, insert toothpicks into them and attach to the Styrofoam cone, covering it completely to create a pyramid. Place on a foil-lined pan or cake pedestal.
To decorate cake with caramelized sugar, place 1-1/2 cups sugar, ½ cup light corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook without stirring, until sugar syrup turns a golden amber color (7 to 9 minutes). To prevent the sugar from crystallizing, wash down the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water every few minutes. Watch carefully, as the sugar can burn easily at the end.
Allow the caramelized sugar syrup to cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then start drizzling it over the cake, using a fork. As the syrup cools it will thicken and you can drizzle more onto a foil-lined baking sheet in thin strands and drips. It will harden as it cools; lift the bits of hard caramel with a fork and decorate the base of the cake.
To serve, allow guests to pull popcorn balls off of the cone or just use the cake as a centerpiece for a celebration or holiday party.