This recipe came from my Grandma. I remember helping her make this popcorn when I was young, and she teaching me how to get the candy coating to “soft ball stage”. I then remember this being the best popcorn ever made. I have never made this popcorn since I was was young, which seems like forever ago. And I was thinking about her the other day, and all the memories I had spending time with her. So I wanted to share a memory I have of my grandma with my Little Chefs, and make with them this Old Fashioned Candied Popcorn. My grandma would always make it pink, but since the 4th of July is right around the corner, I thought we would make Patriotic Old Fashioned Candied Popcorn!
The Little Chefs were so excited to have “real” popcorn! We do not have popcorn at our house very often, unless it is coated with a yummy caramel sauce, but when we do – it is always microwave popcorn. We busted out the air popper – and the Little Chefs popped up a couple batches of popcorn.
Then we made the sugar coating for the popcorn. We added the ingredients as listed and stirred it all up!
I remember learning how to get the sugar mixture to a “soft ball stage” from my grandma. We took the easy way and used a thermometer – but not without teaching them how to test the sugar mixture to see if it is soft ball stage. By adding a small amount of the mixutre into a small bowl of VERY cold water, roll it with your fingers – if you can roll it into a soft ball, then it is ready!
Then was the Little Chefs favorite part – what they called the magic part – making the sugar mixture bubble up and turn colors! After reaching 230 degrees – or soft ball stage – we took it off the heat and added the vanilla and food coloring. The reaction of the ingredients made the suger mixture bubble up and it was so exciting for them to watch. We choose to make the popcorn red, white and blue color for 4th of July!! We poured the mixture over the popcorn.
The Little Chefs then lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper to allow the popcorn to dry.
The Little Chefs LOVED making this Old Fashioned Candied Popcorn – and I loved sharing this special memory with them! Adding this Patriotic Poporn to individual bowls dress up the middle of a table for 4th of July BBQ’s and Celebrations. We sent some as a gift to some friends and neighbors.
- 8 c popped popcorn
- 1 c sugar
- 1/3 c whole milk
- 1 T corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2-3 drops food coloring
- Pop the popcorn
- In saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, corn syrup, and salt. Mix until sugar dissolves
- On medium-low heat, keep a low boil and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 230 degrees, or soft ball stage
- Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla and food coloring
- Pour sugar mixture over the popcorn, mix to coat well
- Transfer the popcorn to a parchment lined cookie sheet to cool down and dry.