Country Cousin Popcorn Balls
Peanuts and dates raise the bar on traditional popcorn balls.
Yield: 18 balls
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup apple juice or water
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 quarts warm popped popcorn
- 1 cup honey-roasted, unsalted or salted peanuts
- 1 8-ounce package chopped dates (1 1/2 cups)
- Combine sugar, apple juice, syrup, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Remove sugar from sides of pan with a wet brush.
- Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 270 degrees Fahrenheit, or the soft crack stage on a candy thermometer.
- Add vanilla.
- Pour mixture over popped popcorn, peanuts and dates; mix well. Wet or butter hands and shape into 3-inch balls.
1 ounce of unpopped popcorn kernels (2 tablespoons household measure) makes approximately 1 quart of popped popcorn.