Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Maple Syrup Popcorn Balls

Two years ago I started a Thanksgiving tradition of making maple syrup popcorn balls. I am not quite clear now why I did this since maple sugaring season is in the early spring/late winter. However, I think that my reasoning was that it was the Native Americans who showed early settlers how to "sugar," and I seem to remember a little fictional story of a young Native American boy sharing his maple syrup (or candy) with early settler children around harvest time. So... anyway, it doesn't really matter because this is a fun thing to do with the kids and they love it. Plus, it helps foster patience (for me...) since whisking and waiting for that maple syrup to ball up seems to take forever.

First, put 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a bit of canola oil and wait to pop.

It's popping! When done, put into a large bowl. If you remember, take out the kernels to make eating the balls easier.

Now for patience... In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 tsp. butter (we used Earth Balance soy/dairy free) and 1 cup real maple syrup (mine was room temperature which will speed up cooking time). Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a drop forms a ball in cold water. Mine took about 13 minutes. Once there, pour over popcorn. And yes, Miss Bear is always naked nowadays. At least she keeps the diaper on.

Time to make the balls. Once you poured the candy syrup over the popcorn, grab a sheet of parchment paper and lay on the counter. With a spoon, stir the syrup and popcorn until all the popcorn is coated. Make sure the kids wash their hands if they're helping. The popcorn should be cool enough (though still warm with some hot spots) to form into balls. Ours made about 5 large balls and 5 smaller balls.

Enjoy fresh and warm if desired. If you do, this will be a much stickier experience! If not, allow to sit out at room temperature until completely cooled and the syrup "dries up" and is more sugary/candy like instead of sticky. Enjoy!

After we made the treats, the kids and I sat down (for a much needed rest for me!) to read The First Thanksgiving Story, a perfect story for younger elementary aged children.


  1. your little ones are so cute! your tradition reminds me of my childhood when my mom made popcorn balls. Happy blessed Thanksgiving.

  2. Thanks Gardenia. I never made popcorn balls until I was an adult but I have fond New Year's Eve memories of a family friend bringing them over for our annual party. Yum!

  3. YUm!! Looks so yummy. We have an air popcorn popper and love it!

  4. ooooh.. these look delicious! I am your newest follower! I'd love for you to follow me back, if you want to. I'd also love for you to come link up at TGIF Linky Party - or enter to get one of my first ever guest posts that I'm offering up during the month of December.

    Beth =-)

  5. Hi Beth, welcome! I quickly checked out your blog. Looks like fun - a lot of ideas. I really love the moon phases in cookie form. My oldest is doing astronomy (his choice) but now the younger brother wants in on the action so those will be a hit - with both boys! I'll keep on eye on the TGIF linky parties. Thanks for inviting me!


Thank you for stopping by. I love to chat. God bless!