Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Popcorn Balls & Bloooooo Pancakes

I never ate these as a kid. I'm vaguely aware that versions of these (toxic pink, brittle and oily) exist and probably still roam bake sales and birthday parties to the delight of sweet-toothed urchins everywhere. But I like popcorn, and I like sugar, so I figured they would probably taste good if I took matters into my own hands. I modified the Shmooed Food recipe slightly, and left them plain because I didn't have any dried fruit/nuts around that didn't scream "health food alert!!!", and they were super just the way they were, tossed in a mandarin box and brought to Ze Ladies Crafting Day (and munched happily by all there). Very caramel-y!

Popcorn Balls

12 cups air-popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup syrup of your choice (brown rice, corn... I used corn b-cause I'm poor)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
oil (for forming the balls)

1. Pop the corns. Eat some corns to get in the mood. Put 12 cups of the corns into a metal pot/bowl and stick them in a warm oven.

2. Bring the syrup, sugar, water and salt to boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Once it boils, turn down the heat and maintain that boil until the temperature reaches 250-270 degrees (lower for chewy/higher for crispy). A candy thermometre is nice for this, but you can also drop a bit of the sugar into a glass of ice-cold water - if it turns into a firm or hard ball, you're good to go. (this took me about 20 minutes, but I'm a weeny with magmic pots of sugar and I kept the heat low).

3. Once the sugar is at the right temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Take the corns out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over top and STIR STIR STIR with a wooden spoon to coat every kernel.

4. Oil your hands and form the sticky goodness into as many balls as you like. I got 22.

5. Scrape the extra syrupy popcorn out of the bowl and eat it! mmmm.

.... I also made my mum an impromptu breakfast -- blue pancakes and homefries. They were so blue!! Like, not purple -- BLUE. :O


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

The "caramel-y" popcorn balls look sensational - nice to see that they're a normal color, and not toxic pink, haha.

Those blue pancakes are so fun-looking as well - I hope your mom enjoyed the extra-blueberry flavor!! :0)

aTxVegn said...

A long time ago I made the popcorn balls with millet puffs. They were fun and okay, but I did burn myself a lot trying to shape them while they were still warm....

I haven't had blueberry pancakes in forever - yum!

Theresa said...

Those popcorn balls look good, but didn't you recently post about other balls... beanballs, maybe? May every vegans life be as full of balls as yours is!

Sorry, I'm very immature. I love your blue pancakes.

Ashasarala said...

I've never had a popcorn ball, though it certainly sounds like bliss.

Those muffins look green. Maybe it's just the lighting. But food with different colors always looks more appetizing. Maybe it's the kid in me. ;)

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

thanks Veggiegirl - turns out my mom's a plain buttermilk pancake kinda person but she really like the potatoes!

Atxvegan, I'd love to try this with puffs of another kind, for sure! I was eyeing my brother's frosted flakes while making them, but decided *against* making Sugar-Coma-Balls, lol!

omg Theresa, if I had been drinking anything when I read that it would have come right out my nose XDDDDD


... I am also immature. :)

and AshaSarala, I totally concur - weirdly coloured food is just ... I dunno, cool! (I actually *wanted* my popcorn pink but I couldn't find dye!)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh pink popcorn balls woulda been fun... but yours look amazingly good anyways :o)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Chiffon cakes are light and fluffy, like the fabric... they're usually made with egg whites, but of course mine had none of that!

Sarah P said...

I had a neighbor who made popcorn balls for halloween every year, but then he got too old to make them and my mother refused to let us make them at home because it was to sticky and arduous a process. but now I know it is do-able!

He used molasses, though, which I think I would add instead of the brown sugar?

ps - I think "kamutflake girl" is GENIUS.

Cakespy said...

The popcorn had me drooling, but the pancakes nearly killed me. Whoa.

Judy said...

I don't think I remember eating these when I was a kid either. I do remember attempting to make them one time, and having them not turn out at all, leaving my pot a sticky crunchy mess. Needless to say, that was the only time I tried.


Jes said...

Ohhh balls... ;)

Those blueberry pancakes look delish!

And soynog is the jam! I've never tasted regular eggnog, but the vegan kind is out of this world. I can't stop cooking with it. It makes a great creamer for coffee too!

Ruby Red said...

i want one of your popcorn balls! they look so good, and i cannot recall more than one occasion on which i've eaten them before - but from that experience i know i love them!

a magmic pot of sugar sounds scary! this makes me concerned for your little popcorn-ball-making hands! does the sugar cool quickly once you stir it in with the popped corn?

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

yeah, it cools down pretty fast - I thought it was going to be this big ordeal with burning and/or sugar hardening too fast, but it all went surprisingly smoothly! It might have also helped that I used a high popcorn-to-sugar ratio, so there was less lava to contend with, and more gentle puffy popcorn. )^.^(