Maple Molasses Popcorn Balls

My sister gave me this recipe. She altered the recipe she found by changing the syrup to 3/4 cup honey and the sugar to 1/4 cup brown sugar. Experimenting with recipes must run in the family, because I altered her recipe.


1/4 cup cooking oil (I use olive oil)
1/2 cup popcorn
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place oil in four-quart kettle. Add a few popcorn kernels in the pot, cover with a lid and heat over a medium heat. Once you hear the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn. Shake the pot frequently until popping stops.
  • Transfer popcorn to large bowl. I scoop out the popcorn from the top. This helps keep the unpopped kernels out of the popcorn balls.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup, vinegar and salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for five minutes on medium high (or heat until mixture reaches 235º F). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popped corn, tossing gently to coat.
  • When mixture is cool enough to handle, firmly press a handful of popcorn into a ball with buttered hands. If the balls aren’t sticking together, let it cool a bit more. Cool completely on waxed paper.

Makes about 10 popcorn balls

4 Responses to “Maple Molasses Popcorn Balls”

  1. T. Biggers says:

    I was wondering if you are aware of the function of the vinegar in this recipe? I’m a home ec teacher and we make popcorn balls every year. I allow the kids to browse the web for their own recipe of choice and sometimes vinegar is included and sometimes not. Any clue?

  2. doggybloggy says:

    we must be living in a parallel universe!

  3. kara says:

    Thanks for reading! I add vinegar to lots of things that I feel would benefit from a little depth or complexity. It just adds another layer to the flavor. I’m not sure if it does anything chemically to mix. I’ll research it a bit.

  4. Chef E says:

    I was just going through your blogs I had to catch up on, and you have some of the best write ups and treats like this on here!

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