1/4 cup (half stick) Earth Balance buttery sticks or regular Earth Balance
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popped popcorn (two quarts), popped however you like
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a dab of Wilton coloring paste (I used rose)
a candy thermometer
What You Do:
Put the sugar, Earth Balance, corn syrup and salt in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir to moisten the sugar.
Spread you popcorn out onto a lipped cookie sheet. The popcorn ball process is gonna make a mess on the tray, but the caramel will come off easily with a hot water soak so don't worry.
Clip the candy thermometer to your saucepan and bring the caramel ingredients to a boil over medium heat.
Stir frequently to make sure the sugar does not burn. Once the caramel comes to a boil, stop stirring.
Bring the caramel up to 270F which is just to the hardball stage.
Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and color paste. Stir well to distribute
Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn. Use a utencil to distribute the caramel evenly over the popcorn. You want to get it coated as much as possible.
Grease your hands and wait for the stuff to get to a temperature you can tolerate. Don't wait to long because it will start to get hard really fast.
Form popcorn balls into whatever sizes you like using medium pressure to make the balls uniform and compact.
They will get very crunchy when cool.
Try making small balls to top a special birthday kake or change up the recipe with a fancy flavored extract like banana or strawberry!