Start with a heavy bottom pan. That is the one essential. It also helps to have an accurate candy thermometer but you need to double check with a bowl of cold water to make sure you are at the soft ball stage. I don't know what the soy sauce is for...kind of scary if you think about it. I could so easily have grabbed that rather than the vanilla. But I didn't.
Another tip is to sift your popcorn and get out all the uncooked kernels, which I forgot to do and so if you look at the popcorn balls very closely you will see tons of unpopped kernels like little Death Land Mines for cracking your teeth.
*Popcorn Balls for Christmas*
(but you still need a heavy and I do mean heavy bottom pan or it will just scorch.)
1 ½ cups white Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 t. water (what good does one teaspoon of water do? I have no idea.)
1 T. butter
2 big batches unbuttered popcorn. You can use the microwave stuff, in which case you need about 4 bags. Try to get the plain popcorn.
Boil until softball stage 232-234° don’t quit until you reach this stage and don’t quit until you’ve been AT this stage for a good bit. Watch it constantly anyway and don’t stir. If you undercook it the popcorn balls will fall apart and never firm up.
Remove from the stove and add
1 t. vanilla
Stir it into the popcorn while still hot.
Butter and Water your hands to keep them from burning and the mixture from sticking. It’s messy but it’s worth it.
Form mixture into balls without crushing the popcorn and place on wax paper to cool and set.
You need a lot of room for this recipe so have a big kitchen table.
When balls are firm and completely cool, wrap in saran wrap individually and tie up with Christmas Ribbon.
Make sure you have a very good soft ball stage to your syrup mixture or else you will end up with GOO-balls. Still delicious but very messy to eat.