CAJUN TAC TAC POPCORN BALLS

Halloween was right around the corner when my husband's grandmother would make Cajun tac tac popcorn balls.  This was one of the delicious fall treats she would prepare. "Tac tac balls" as she called them, are spheres of popcorn that are held together with a sweet and salty caramel syrup. The great-grandchildren enjoyed sitting around Maw Maw's kitchen table as she made this Acadian recipe.  The recipe calls for Steen's cane syrup, which is made from sugar cane grown in Louisiana. Kids really enjoy tac tac balls, and these will be fun for movie night, and birthday treats, too.   Be sure to use any extra Steen's cane syrup slathered on warm biscuits with sour cream.  Trust me, it's delicious. 

Cajun Tac Tac Popcorn Balls

Servings: 1 dozen 3-inch balls

4 quarts popped corn, unbuttered

1 cup Steens cane syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon butter, plus extra for coating hands

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

special equipment: candy thermometer

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Fill an extra large mixing bowl with the popped corn and set aside.  

2. Attach a candy thermometer to a small saucepan. In the saucepan, bring the cane syrup, sugar, water and salt to a boil.  Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle steady boil. Stir frequently until the syrup reaches 275°, about 10 minutes.  

3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter and baking soda.  Stir until the syrup is foamy and well combined.  Immediately pour the syrup on the popcorn.  Working quickly, use a large mixing spoon to stir the popcorn until evenly coated.  

4. Coat your hands with about a teaspoon of butter.  Working quickly, scoop out 3/4 cup of coated popcorn and shape into a ball using your hands.  Place the shaped popcorn on parchment.  Repeat with the remaining popcorn and re-coat hands with butter as needed.  Cool and enjoy!