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Molasses Popcorn Balls

3 quarts popped corn
1 ½ cups Brer Rabbit Molasses
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Pick over popped corn, discarding all hard kernels. Combine molasses, sugar, water, vinegar and salt; cook slowly, stirring constantly, to 270 degrees F. (or when a small quantity dropped into cold water forms hard ball). Remove from heat; add vanilla extract and shortening, stirring only enough to mix. Pour over popped corn, stirring constantly. Grease hands; shape lightly and quickly into balls. [If you squeeze too hard, you will crush the popcorn and it won’t be as good.] Cool. Wrap in Waxed paper, twisting the ends of the paper around the top of the ball. Makes 28-30.