Eggnog-ish Popcorn Balls
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 30
- Yield: 10
- 9 cups plain popped popcorn
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon distilled white or apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the bowl and your hands
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- Coat a large heatproof bowl with butter or nonstick cooking spray and place the popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, nutmeg, and vanilla until melted and smooth.
- Immediately drizzle the sugar mixture over the popcorn. Add the almonds and stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until the popcorn is thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
- Using buttered or oiled hands, tightly press the mixture (it may still be a bit warm) into 3-inch rounds. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wrap individually and store at room temperature until ready to eat or gift.