Here’s an easy, festive and tasty popcorn treat you can make for any party or event. I love that by changing out the colors you can customize this snack for any event. Make it in your team colors for Homecoming or the “Big Game”, use pretty pastels for Easter, color coordinate with decorations for a baby or bridal shower, or do as I did here and use red and white for Valentines Day. The possibilities are endless.
Party Popcorn is simply plain popcorn drizzled with melting chocolate. These are the colored disks you can find in the candy making or cake decorating aisle at most big box stores. Wilton calls them “candy melts” and makes them in a ton of colors. They also come in different flavors, especially around the various holidays (for example I’ve seen eggnog and gingerbread flavor around Christmas). You can use chocolate or white chocolate chips for this–but they don’t melt to the same runny consistency and you might have to add some shortening or coconut oil to it a teaspoon or so at a time after it’s melted to reach the correct drizzly consistency.
Now melting chocolate (or candy melts) does have a few tricks. You don’t want any water or alcohol based stuff to get into the mix (like flavoring extracts or food coloring)–that could cause the chocolate to “seize”–ie harden in a grainy mess. There is no coming back from seizing–you’ve just got to chunk the whole batch into the trash. Likewise, heating too fast & hard can cause it to burn or seize–also no coming back.
Many people melt their chocolate and melts in the microwave, using very short bursts of 10 sec, stirring, 10 sec, stirring. . . you can do this until it finally melts. The classic method is to use a double boiler–that’s a pot that fits inside another pot that has simmering water. The simmering water warms the inside pot and melts the candy more gently. I have a double boiler insert and use it for things like this frequently.
Of course, with the two methods above, once you take it off the heat the chocolate starts to cool and thicken, so you’ve got to work fast. That’s why I use a third, super easy, hands off method–my slow cooker!
Take your slow cooker, fill it about half to three quarters full of the hottest water you sink has, and then turn it on low. Now put your melts into some jars or drinking glasses–whatever you use has to be heavy enough not to float in the water. If they float, they could tip over and get water inside and then your candy would be ruined. If you have to, remove some of the water until your containers are stable.
In my pot, once I’ve put the containers inside my lid won’t fit, so I drape a piece of tinfoil over the top to keep the heat in. Now just wait 10 min or so, come back and stir, recover, wait, stir. . . repeat until your chocolate is melted. If you are dipping things like pretzels into the chocolate, you can keep the jars right in the water. To drizzle I like to take the glass out, move closer to the popcorn and commence drizzling operations. You want the candy to be nice an thin and runny so you can get a pretty drizzle.
The great thing about using a slow cooker is that the chocolate stays at that perfect liquid temp as long as you need it to!
Don’t forget to cover the counter or table with some waxed paper before you start drizzling–you don’t want to be chipping chocolate up off your work surface. Once the drizzling is done, you’ll need to leave it sitting out until the chocolate hardens back up. This can take an hour or more, so take that into account when you choose where to do this project.
If you like you can add sprinkles to your popcorn–I did little pink heart sprinkles above. You need to add them quickly before the chocolate sets up or it won’t stick at all. I’ve had so-so luck in general with the sprinkles sticking.
Finally, when you are done making your party corn, store it in an airtight container until your party. Otherwise the popcorn will absorb moisture from the air and go stale.
So, next time you have a party–make some Party Popcorn!