1. Heat oil and popcorn kernels in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cover with lid and listen carefully. As soon as you hear popping, shake the pan back and forth constantly, making sure lid is secure, until the popping slows down. Remove from heat. Remove lid, being careful to avoid the escaping steam.Measure popcorn into a large bowl; you should have 12 cups.
2. Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.
3. In a deep saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter. Cook overmedium-low heat until sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Insert a candy thermometer into the liquid. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high; boil without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 280 degrees, 15 to 18 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and remove thermometer; quickly stir in vanilla and salt. Immediately pour over popcorn; toss to coat. When mixture is cool enough to handle, after 1 to 2 minutes, dampen your hands and work quickly to shape mixture into 12 balls, 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Place on waxed paper.Let stand until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap popcorn balls individually in plastic wrap or cover each in waxed paper and tie with string or ribbon for a festive touch. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, September - October 2012