From decorating the tree to carving the turkey, there are many time-honored holiday traditions observed by families around the country. However, the holiday season is about more than just celebrating old traditions.
A perfect opportunity for creating new memories and, in turn, traditions, popcorn can serve as an ideal ingredient to bring family time to life. Whether wrapping the tree with a garland made from the light and airy treat, filling clear ornaments with freshly popped kernels or simply popping up a bowl as a nutritious alternative to other holiday noshes, popcorn makes it easy to get hands-on while you deck the halls.
These seasonal recipes for traditional treats like peppermint bark and popcorn balls plus edible trees and a more elegant take on a simple snack highlight low-fat, non-GMO, gluten-free whole-grain popcorn as the main ingredient. Find more modern takes on traditional holiday recipes at popcorn.org.
White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark
Yield: 1 pound
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips
- 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside.
- Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.
- In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in crushed peppermints.
- Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir to coat.
- Spread onto prepared pan; cool completely. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks.
Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn
Yield: 8 cups
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- candy sprinkles
- Line baking sheet with wax paper. Spread popcorn in a thin layer on prepared pan.
- Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
- Place white chocolate chips in a separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
- Sprinkle the desired amount of candy sprinkles over warm chocolate-coated popcorn.
- Allow chocolate drizzles to set until firm. Break popcorn into pieces.
Note: Chocolate chips can be replaced with cut up chocolate bars.
Cranberry Popcorn Balls
Yield: 18 balls
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 quarts unsalted, popped popcorn
- In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cranberry sauce, grated orange peel, cranberry juice, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt.
- Bring to boil; lower heat and cook until temperature reaches 250 F on a candy thermometer.
- Slowly pour cranberry mixture onto hot popcorn; mix until well-coated.
- Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture can easily be formed into balls.
- Butter hands and form into 3-inch balls.
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
- small, colorful candies such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees
- Place popcorn in a large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir marshmallows and butter until marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
- Line baking sheet with foil.
- Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
- Shape mixture into a cone, keeping base flat to form a tree.
- Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place the tree on a baking sheet.
- Make nine additional trees.
- Using decorating tip, pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.
- Serving suggestion: Place each tree on a sugar cookie and decorate the serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.
Notes: For the best flavor and color, start the recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in a bowl or shaking vigorously in a sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.
Popcorn Board, Family Features