Since my husband was knee-high to a grasshopper, sorghum popcorn balls have ushered in fall. Some call sorghum popcorn balls “old fashioned,” but here in the Appalachias, we call it standard Halloween fare.
For generations, Kentucky farmers have been producing nutrient rich and naturally gluten free crops of sorghum and pressing it into a thick, versatile syrup that’s makes an ideal base for an amazing popcorn ball. Stacked up against their corn-syrup counterparts, the sorghum popcorn balls shine in complexity, clarity and superiority of flavor.
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When you toss in a little sea salt and some pecans, the flavor-factor pops right off the popcorn charts… which is what we do each year. Hope you enjoy, this simple, yet highly rewarding recipe we’ve created with a little help from some of our favorite Good Cook bakeware and kitchen gadgets.
Sea-Salted Sorghum Pecan Popcorn Balls
1 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Sorghum Syrup
1 tablespoon Butter
1/4 cup Water
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Pecans
8 cups Popcorn, popped (air-popped, plain popcorn)
Measure out 8 cups of popped popcorn into a non-stick bowl (stainless steel, ceramic or glass bowls work best.)
Cut and lay out about a 1-2 foot long sheet of wax paper on a nearby counter.
Over a medium-high heat, in a 2 quart sauce pan, add water, sugar, salt, butter and sorghum syrup. Cook until melted and mixed, stirring occasionally.
Turn heat to high and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until a rolling boil is achieved.
Using a candy thermometer, boil until hard crack or soft ball stage is reached (about 240 degrees.) Remove sauce pan from heat.
Slowly pour sorghum mixture over the popcorn and use a spatula to mix. Continuing mixing until popcorn is fully coated with sorghum mix.
Quickly add pecans to popcorn, mix until pecans are incorporated throughout the popcorn mix.
Popcorn mixture should begin cooling at this point and is prime for molding into popcorn balls. You may use your hands to shape into popcorn balls (or other shapes,) but the mix will still be hot to the touch.
For this reason, I find the Good Cook Round Popcorn Baller to be super handy. Simply use your spatula to scoop popcorn into the ball, close the lid to press and shape into a round ball, remove the lid and presto, you have a popcorn ball! (No sticky mess on your hands to clean up either!)
Place finished popcorn balls onto wax paper sheet and allow to cool thoroughly. Wrap popcorn balls in treat bags or store in an airtight container.
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