This recipe for Candy Cane Popcorn is a festive sweet treat featuring popcorn kernels coated with white chocolate and crushed peppermint candy cane.
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Why you'll love this recipe
This Candy Cane Popcorn recipe comes together in one bowl and can be a fun activity to do with kids!
It's a festive and easy way to dress up popcorn for the holidays and are great as gifts.
This version is not cloyingly sweet and there's no baking involved.
You'll only need a few ingredients, 5 to be exact!
Ingredients you'll need
- popped popcorn: you can pop the popcorn on the stovetop or in the microwave
- white chocolate: chopped; you can also use white chocolate chips or white candy melts
- fine sea salt: balances out the sweetness from the white chocolate and candy cane
- coconut oil: you can use a refined coconut oil or neutral vegetable oil
- crushed peppermint candy canes: or peppermint candies of your choice
What type of popcorn to use
For this recipe, you can use any unflavored (plain) popcorn.
You can make it in the microwave, air popper, or over the stovetop.
Packaged microwave popcorn is usually flavored popcorn with butter, oil and salt is not a recommended choice since we're coating the kernels with additional flavors.
How to crush peppermint candy canes
There are a few different ways to crush candy canes:
- food processor: add the peppermint candy pieces into the food processor and blitz a few times, until broken into smaller pieces, but be careful not to overdo it or it will turn to dust
- spice grinder: same as the food processor; add the peppermint candy pieces into the spice grinder and blitz a few times
- bashing it with a rolling pin: add the candy pieces into a heavy-duty Ziploc freezer bag, seal it and bash with a rolling pin or a meat mallet until broken
How to store crushed candy cane
Humidity can cause the the candy cane pieces to melt and weep.
Store crushed candy cane pieces in a completely airtight container, preferably with one of these:
- dry silica packets (the ones you get with various packaged foods and draws out moisture -- DO NOT EAT)
- uncooked white rice (draws out humidity)
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (keeps everything dry)
How to make candy cane popcorn
In a large microwave-safe bowl, add in the white chocolate and heat in 20 second intervals in the microwave until melted. (Alternatively, you can use a double boiler and melt it that way too).
Once the white chocolate is melted, stir in sea salt and ½ teaspoon of coconut oil.
While white chocolate is warm, add 3 cups of popped popcorn and coat evenly, using a spatula to mix.
Pour the popcorn mixture onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
Spread it out and sprinkle crushed candy cane on top of the popcorn mixture.
Chill in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes for the white chocolate to set.
Remove from freezer and use a fork to gently break and separate the kernels into bite-sized pieces.
How to store
Store Candy Cane Popcorn in an airtight container in a cool location for up to 3 days.
As the popcorn is coated with chocolate, it will not last as long as uncoated plain popcorn.
FAQs & expert tips
How long does popped popcorn keep?
You can keep popped popcorn in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.
How to present them as gifts?
Place the candy cane popcorn into cellophane bags or a mason jar with a lid and tie with a pretty ribbon. Add a label and voila!
What is the coconut oil for?
The coconut oil helps the white chocolate solidify when chilled, and adds a little shine. You can use a refined coconut oil if you prefer a neutral flavor.
Why add salt to the popcorn?
White chocolate can be cloyingly sweet. With the addition of crushed peppermint candies, it can be too much.
Adding salt helps balance out the sweetness and bring out the flavor from the peppermint.
Using a fine sea salt will dissolve more evenly into the white chocolate.
How do I make the popcorn more minty flavored?
Add ⅛ teaspoon of an oil-based peppermint extract to the white chocolate mixture. The first ingredient listed should be oil and not water or alcohol.
Note: If the peppermint extract you have contains water or alcohol first in the ingredient list, it may cause the chocolate to seize. It's best to use these flavorings in a chocolate mixture, such as a ganache (chocolate and cream).
Making it for a crowd?
Easily double or triple the recipe.
Ensure you have a baking sheet that is large enough to hold all the coated popcorn.
Feel free to change it up and dress it up however you like.
Add matcha white chocolate for a tea-flavoured version.
Try using dark chocolate instead of white chocolate.
Dress it up with a chocolate drizzle over top.
Add nuts such as peanuts or almonds, or crushed pretzels for a crunchy texture.
More peppermint recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Candy Cane Popcorn
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 3 C popped popcorn
- ½ C (85g) white chocolate melted
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
- 2-3 large peppermint candy canes crushed
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add in the white chocolate and heat in 20 second intervals in the microwave until melted. (Alternatively, you can use a double boiler and melt it that way too).
- Once the white chocolate is melted, stir in sea salt and ½ teaspoon of coconut oil.
- While white chocolate is warm, add 3 cups of popped popcorn and coat evenly, using a spatula to mix.
- Pour the popcorn mixture onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Spread it out and sprinkle crushed candy cane on top of the popcorn mixture.
- Chill in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes for the white chocolate to set.
- Remove from freezer and use a fork to gently break and separate the kernels into bite-sized pieces.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.