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Silly Halloween Popcorn Treats
Sep 26th, 2002, 5:19pm

18 cups popped popcorn
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
Gummy worms, candy corn, and any other Halloween candy.

Remove all unpopped kernels from popped popcorn. (Use a large colander and shake the popped corn gently in it. The kernels easily go to the bottom.) Put popcorn in a greased 17x12x2-inch baking or roasting pan. Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree F oven.

For syrup mixture, butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils, stirring to dissolve sugar (about 6 minutes).

Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 250 degrees F, hard-ball stage (about 20 minutes).

Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over the hot popcorn and stir gently to coat, adding candies. Cool till the popcorn mixture can be handled easily. With buttered hands, quickly shape the mixture into 2-inch diameter balls. Wrap each popcorn ball in plastic wrap. You can make them look even more special by tying them with orange and black curly ribbon, with a spider ring or other Halloween surprise on the top! Makes about 20 popcorn balls.

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