Popping up festive holiday fun

 

Get the whole family involved in making these fun popcorn treats. Clockwise from top: Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer, Coconut Popcorn Snowballs and Holiday Popcorn Snowmen. Read on for the recipes.

Get the whole family involved in making these fun popcorn treats. Clockwise from top: Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer, Coconut Popcorn Snowballs and Holiday Popcorn Snowmen. Read on for the recipes. Photo by: familyfeatures.com

 

Preparation for these Jingle Balls involves popcorn, melted butter and marshmallows and colored sugar.

Preparation for these Jingle Balls involves popcorn, melted butter and marshmallows and colored sugar.
Photo by: familyfeatures.com

 

 

Family Features

 

 

During a holiday season that may not quite feel the same for many families, you can add a magic touch to at-home festivities with activities and treats that get everyone involved. Creating decorative holiday sweets allows little ones and grown-ups alike to take part in the fun, and the end result is delicious desserts for all to enjoy.

 

Start with a main ingredient like whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn. At 30 calories a cup, it's naturally low in fat, non-GMO and gluten-free for a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday indulgences. It's a clever way to create artsy representations of the season at hand that celebrate festive flavors like peppermint, coconut, chocolate and other sweet eats.

 

For example, Coconut Popcorn Snowballs add fun and flavor to wintertime with a coat of sweetened coconut "snow" and candy cane handle while easy-to-construct Holiday Popcorn Snowmen are sure to be a hit with your children. Add to the holiday spirit throughout your home with wintery Jingle Balls that call for colored sugars to create a magical sparkling effect then take the creativity to the next level by encouraging kids to make their own red-nosed, sleigh-pulling team of Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer.

 

 

Discover more decorative dessert recipes at popcorn.org.

 

 

COCONUT POPCORN SNOWBALLS

 

Yield: 8 balls (4 inches)

 

 

2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut

 

Nonstick cooking spray

 

3 quarts popped popcorn

 

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

 

3 cups miniature marshmallows

 

1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract

 

8 candy canes or candy cane sticks (about 3-4 inches)

 

 

■ Place large sheet wax or parchment paper over work surface. Spread coconut on paper.

 

■ Spray large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.

 

■ In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows until melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.

 

■ Spray hands with cooking spray and press mixture firmly to form into balls.

 

■ Place balls on coconut; roll and press coconut to coat. While holding popcorn balls, gently press candy cane into each ball. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage.

 

 

JINGLE BALLS

 

Yield: 12 cups

 

 

Nonstick cooking spray

 

12 cups popped popcorn

 

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

 

3 cups mini marshmallows

 

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

 

Assorted colored sugars

 

 

■ Spray large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Add popcorn.

 

■ Spread plastic wrap on cookie sheet; set aside.

 

■ In medium saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows; stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour over popcorn, mixing until well coated. Let cool 2 minutes.

 

■ Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and form popcorn mixture into 3-inch balls.

 

■ Gently press colored sugar onto balls. Let sit on prepared cookie sheet until cool and set.

 

 

CHOCOLATE POPCORN REINDEER

 

Servings: 8

 

 

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

 

 

■ Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.

 

■ In saucepan over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often, until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.

 

■ Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.

 

■ Insert one pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for "eyes" and one red chocolate candy for "nose." Repeat with remaining balls.

 

■ Let cool completely.

 

 

HOLIDAY POPCORN SNOWMEN

 

Yield: 5 snowmen

 

 

1 package (1 pound) large marshmallows

 

1/4 up (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional for greasing hands

 

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

10 cups popped popcorn

 

sprinkles (optional)

 

licorice (optional)

 

gum drops (optional)

 

cinnamon candies (optional)

 

 

■ In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes.

 

■ Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and stir. Butter hands well and form into balls.

 

■ Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, if desired.

 

 

 

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