Popping Up a Winter Wonderland

Edible, handmade festive season decor perfect for gifting

’Tis the season to pop up some festive season fun by creating a scenic winter wonderland that tastes as great as it looks.

Gather the kids and make a hands-on family festive season tradition out of crafting festive, edible decorations. Popcorn is the perfect choice to pop up and eat while trimming your popcorn tree and decking out your creations. At 30 calories a cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn offers a nutritious alternative to traditional festive season party nibbles. Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.

These clever recipes can help you make edible decor or gifts to give to friends, family and co-workers. Find more creative festive season recipes at popcorn.org.

Festive Popcorn Trees

Yield: 10 trees

  • 10        cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1          bag (10 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • green decorating sugar
  • blue decorating sugar
  • 1          tube white frosting with decorating tip
  • small, colorful candies (such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees)
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl.
  2. Place marshmallows and butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
  5. Line baking sheet with foil.
  6. Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop up about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
  7. Shape mixture into cone, keeping base flat to form tree.
  8. Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place tree on baking sheet.
  9. Make nine additional trees.
  10. Pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.

Serving suggestion: Place each tree on sugar cookie and decorate serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.

Notes: For best flavor and color, start recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make your own colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in bowl or shaking vigorously in sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.

Festive Season Popcorn Snowman

Yield: 5 snowmen

  • 1          package (1 pound) large marshmallows
  • 1/4       cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 10        cups popped popcorn
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • licorice (optional)
  • gum drops (optional)
  • cinnamon candies (optional)
  1. In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Pour over popcorn and stir mixture.
  5. Butter hands well and form into balls.
  6. Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, as desired.

Festive Season Wreath Popcorn Treats

Yield: 8 wreaths

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3          quarts popped popcorn
  • 4          tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 3          cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3          tablespoons lime gelatin dessert mix
  • small red candies
  • jellybeans
  • red fruit leather
  1. Lightly spray large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
  2. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert mix until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix until coated.
  3. Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into 9-inch logs then bend to form wreaths.
  4. Place wreaths on wax paper. Press candies and jellybeans into wreaths as decorations; cut fruit leather to make ribbon and add.
  5. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage. Add ribbon tie to plastic wrap as decorative closure.

Tip: Soak saucepan before cleaning.

Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer

Yield: 8 reindeer

  • 8          cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
  • 2 1/2    cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2       cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 2          tablespoons butter or light olive oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 16        pretzel sticks
  • 16        eyeball candies
  • 8          red candy-coated chocolate candies
  1. Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
  2. In saucepan set over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
  3. Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls total. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.
  4. Insert pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for eyes and red candy for nose. Let cool completely.

Tip: Eyeball candies can typically be found in baking aisles of supermarkets or bulk food stores. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
The Popcorn Board

Add Some Pop to Your Party

No matter the occasion, every celebration is better with snacks. Whether you’re hosting game day with the guys, catching up with girlfriends, gathering for family movie night or inviting your kids’ friends over for a grade school sleepover, you can’t go wrong with popcorn treats.

Popcorn is the perfect partner for a broad span of flavors, especially when they’re sweet or salty – or both. You can make each mouthwatering bite pop even more by adding texture with crunchy nuts or silky melted chocolate.

Even if you simply serve plain popcorn to your guests, you can feel good about serving healthy, whole grain, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free.

Find more ways to pop up more fun for your next party at popcorn.org.

Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 10        cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 2          cups whole almonds
  • 1          cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4       cup light corn syrup
  • 2          teaspoons vanilla
  • 1          teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 225° F. Spray 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix popcorn and almonds.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.
  4. Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  5. Bake 1 hour. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 6          slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4       cup pure maple syrup, divided
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 2/3       cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3       cup dried cranberries
  • 2          tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4       teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon maple extract
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes, or until ends of bacon start to curl. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
  4. Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread popcorn mixture in jelly roll or roasting pan. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.

Poppy Chow

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 2          quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/4       cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2       cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1          cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1          cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir until well coated. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
  4. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.

English Toffee Popcorn Bars

Yield: 20 bars

  • 2 1/2    quarts popped popcorn
  • 1          cup peanuts
  • 1          cup flaked coconut, toasted

Toffee:

  • 1 1/2    cups butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2    cups sugar
  • 3          tablespoons water
  • 4 1/2    teaspoons light corn syrup

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1 1/2    cups (9 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1          tablespoon shortening
  1. Heat oven to 200° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and toasted coconut. Cover bottom of buttered 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with half of the popcorn mixture. Keep filled pan and remaining popcorn mixture warm in oven.
  3. To make toffee: In heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and blend well.Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches full boil. Add water and corn syrup; mix well.
  4. Wash down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar granules.
  5. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches soft-crack stage on candy thermometer (280° F). Immediately pour mixture over warm popcorn in jelly-roll pan, making certain all popcorn is covered. Quickly spread and press remaining popcorn mixture into hot toffee. Set aside to cool.For topping, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Spread over popcorn mixture, making certain any loose pieces are held in place.
  6. Cool. Cut into bars. If bars will not be served immediately, wrap in plastic wrap for storage. (Family Features)