(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.
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
- 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 cup (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.
(Family Features) For a fresh take on Easter treats, these egg-shaped cookie pops will surprise and delight. Easy and delicious, each one is uniquely decorated -an unexpected, but festive way to say "Happy Easter!"
To begin, a simple butter cookie dough flavored with vanilla and almond extracts is cut into egg shapes with a cookie cutter. Once they're baked and cooled, tint white Candy Melts (or use colored) with favorite Easter colors - pastel, bold, or both - then "dye" the eggs by pouring the melted candy over the cookies.
Now the decorating fun begins. Pipe with melted candy to make spirals and stripes, then attach confetti sprinkles. Other decorating options include brushing with pearl dust for a luminous effect, or sprinkling with colored sugars. You could even write messages on them. After decorating, use a dab of melted candy to attach the "pops" stick to the backs of the cookies.
A decorated flower "pot" is an ideal way to present the pops. Place the pops in the convenient insert that comes with the Flower Pot Kit and add some green curling ribbon for grass. This bouquet of pops can do double-duty as a centerpiece for the table, or as an Easter gift for friends and family when wrapped in clear bags and tied with ribbon.
Visit www.wilton.com for more Easter project ideas, to order supplies including the Pops Flower Pot Kit, or a copy of the new Wilton book, "Pops! Sweets On A Stick!"
Fresh Eggs Cookie Pops
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- White Candy Melts, melted
- Primary, Garden Candy Color Sets
- Yellow, White Pearl Dust
- Imitation Clear Vanilla Extract
- Blue, Lavender Colored Sugar
- Jumbo Confetti Sprinkles
- Cookie Treat Sticks
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg; mix until blended. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in flour mixture. Do not chill dough; divide into 2 balls. On floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Dip egg shaped cookie cutter in flour and cut dough; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 6 - 7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove from sheet and cool completely on cooling grid.
- Tint melted white candy desired colors. Pour over cooled cookies to cover. Tap to settle; chill until firm.
- Use melted candy in cut parchment or disposable decorating bags to pipe spirals, stripes and attach Confetti Sprinkles. While still wet, sprinkle some shapes with Colored Sugars. Brush set candy decorations with Pearl Dust/vanilla mixture. Attach sticks to back of cookies using melted candy. If desired, place in assembled Pops Flower Pot Kit.
Source: Wilton Products