While thinking about what food to make for my son’s Kindy Christmas party next week, Popcorn Christmas Trees popped into my head and I just had to make them straight away.
My first thought was to use green candy melts, but I didn’t have any (and I’ve just about hit that point where I don’t want to go anywhere near the shops so close to Christmas). Next option, coloured toffee popcorn. I only need sugar, water and food colouring. Then to decorate the tree, stars and stripes sprinkles.
All the time I was making the toffee, I was having flashbacks to childhood when my Mum burnt her hand or arm (can’t quite remember the details). So let’s just say I was a little paranoid about getting too close to the toffee. Probably good considering the number of times I’ve burnt my fingers or arms while cooking! Thankfully, no injuries this time!
Here’s how I made them:
2 cups plain popcorn (I popped mine of the stove – you could use air-popped or plain microwave popcorn instead)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
a few drops green food colouring
Stars and stripes sprinkles (or other decorations)
Ice cream cones (to use as moulds)
Saucepan and wooden spoon
1. Cut squares of non-stick baking paper. Roll them into a cone and place inside an ice cream cone. I sat my ice cream cones in glasses to hold them upright.
2. Place water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil.
3. Boil the sugar solution for 5 minutes. It should get quite thick and syrupy, but not start to brown.
4. Add a few drops of green food colouring and stir into the syrup. Add the popcorn and stir to coat with the syrup.
5. Spoon the popcorn into the prepared cones, being careful since it’s hot at the start. To get the best shape, put one popped kernel in the end and then build up with a few more at a time. In our summery weather, the toffee stayed sticky for a while so it was easy to move things around in the baking paper to get a good tree shape.
6. While the toffee is sticky, roll the Christmas trees in sprinkles or other decorations (and place a teeny tiny star on top). I sprinkled it on top of the baking paper as I unwrapped them and then rolled them up again to squish the sprinkles onto the toffee.
7. Leave a few hours for the toffee to set (I did this at room temperature – you could pop them in the fridge to speed up the process, but I’m not sure if the popcorn will soften and lose its crunch).
When my son got home from kindy, he said “Oh, they look good, Mum!”, and they definitely passed the 3 and 4 year old kid taste test (Mummy maybe have enjoyed the leftover popcorn – which I left on a piece of baking paper to cool/set).
Maybe I am starting to have a little festive fun… What’s your favourite Christmas tasty treat?