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. Decorative holiday sweets allows everyone 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. (Family Features)
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.
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.
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.
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.