Popcorn Balls – holiday season treat

Homemade Caramel Popcorn Balls

Pop 1-2/3 cups un-popped popcorn {About 15 or 16 cups popped corn}
1 14 oz package caramel candy
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup{Karo}
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions Makes about 10 popcorn balls
* In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine caramel candy, butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to boiling over medium heat. Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly, until thermometer reads 238 degrees F (114 degrees C). Stir in vanilla.
* Pour caramel over popped corn and stir to coat. Butter hands lightly; shape popcorn into balls about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Caramel Popcorn Balls {Another version}
Makes 10 to 12 balls

16 cups plain popped popcorn (do not use buttered popcorn)
1/8 cup corn syrup{Karo}
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of salt
1‑2/3 cups shredded coconut
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
10 to 12 lollipop sticks
Holiday sprinkles and decorations (optional)

Place popcorn in large bowl.
Heat syrup, caramel and butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until caramel and butter are melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and coconut. Remove caramel mixture from heat and pour over popcorn. With large wooden spoon, mix until popcorn is evenly coated. Let cool slightly.

Place chocolate chips in microwavable proof bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute; stir. Microwave on HIGH for additional 30-second intervals until chips are completely melted, stirring after each 30-second interval. Stir until smooth.
When popcorn mixture is cool enough to handle, grease hands with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Shape popcorn mixture into baseball-sized balls; place 1 lollipop stick in each ball. Dip each popcorn ball into melted chocolate and roll in Halloween sprinkle decorations, if desired. Place on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

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