Keep popcorn hot and crisp in a 300 degree F oven.
Cut a shamrock, 10 inches high and 7 inches wide, from cardboard;
cover with aluminum foil.
Butter sides of a heavy saucepan. In it, combine sugar, syrup,
water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar
dissolves. Clip candy thermometer to pan. Cook over medium heat,
stirring only if necessary, until mixture reaches hard-ball
stage (250 degrees F).
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract
and food coloring. Set aside about 1/4 of the glaze; keep hot.
Pour remainder in thin stream over popcorn in large, buttered
bowl and mix well.
Working quickly with buttered hands, pile popcorn onto shamrock
pattern; pack firmly and build to height of 2 inches. Allow
With pastry brush, coat shamrock with remaining glaze;
let dry. Decorate with green bow secured with a straight pin.