1 cup corn for popping (to yield about 15 cups popcorn)
1 tsp oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
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Heat the oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Once hot, add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Increase the heat to high and shake the pot occasionally until all the corn has popped. Remove from heat.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Increase the heat to high and boil the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees (hard ball stage). This will take approximately 15-20 minutes. If you don't have a candy thermometer, just boil the sugar for 20 minutes and then proceed.
When the sugar mixture reaches the hard ball stage, remove from heat and stir in the molasses and vanilla extract. Pour this over the popcorn and toss well. Sprinkle salt over the popcorn and then toss well. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
Lay out a long piece of wax paper on your counter. With buttered hands, form the popcorn into balls and line up on the wax paper. They might appear to fall apart at first, but cup them with your hands until a tight ball has formed.
Repeat with remaining popcorn. The popcorn balls will keep up to a week in a sealed plastic container.