Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

2 cups   sugar
2.3 cup   water
1 tbsp   salt
2.3 cup   corn syrup
0.5 cup   butter
0.5 tsp   vanilla
16 cups   warm popped corn
1. Pop corn and keep warm.

2. Combine sugar, water, salt, corn syrup and butter in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved over medium heat.

3. Continue cooking without stirring at a low boil until mixture reaches the hard ball stage (268F) where syrup forms a hard ball in iced water that keeps its shape upon removal. Remove from heat add vanilla and pour immediately over popcorn in a large bowl. Mix well.

4. Wet hands and shape into balls. Let cool slightly to allow caramel to set.

The first time I made these my mother thought my father had made them and now every time I make them the thought of my father in a frilly apron brandishing a candy thermometer comes to mind.