If you ask us our favorite thing about the holidays, we could never choose. But what we can do is give you a long list of the things we love and candy canes would absolutely be on it. Something about seeing the first ones in the store, early in the season, always puts a smile on our face and we know we’ll be buying so many of them. Pretty much every shopping trip results in a box of candy canes coming home with us. We leave them in a jar for everyone to help themselves but also use them for decorations, tree ornaments, cookies, candy bark, gifts and, of course, candy cane popcorn!
Oh, you know we had to make a batch of that. OK, who are we kidding. We have made many, many batches of that. Because in addition to not being able to keep it around without it being devoured by everybody as fast as we can make it, we also make extra to give as gifts.
Some candy and flavored popcorn recipes require some baking to get the coating to adhere to the popcorn. But this recipe only needs a little time for the chocolate to set. It will harden up and be crispy and crunchy and salty and sweet. And if that doesn’t describe the perfect snack then we don’t know what does.
You can certainly use those round striped candies instead of the canes. And there’s a strong argument to be made that unwrapping a candy cane is an annoying bit of work. But we’re obsessed with that cane shape so it’s candy canes for us. These days you can find them in different colors and different flavors and any of them would work fine for this recipe. But we’re suckers for the classic red and white stripe and the classic sweet peppermint flavor. We did add a touch of green, though, from some holiday sprinkles.
The batches that we managed to keep from being eaten immediately were placed in jars, wrapped in ribbon and decorated with a candy cane. The perfect little holiday gift.
Unwrap the candy canes and add them in a food processor. Pulse several times until they are finely crushed but still have a few larger pieces. You can also place them in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin.
Add the white chocolate chips to a bowl and either melt them in a microwave, 30 seconds at a time, or place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt. Stir until smooth.
Stir about 3/4 of the crushed candy canes into the melted white chocolate and then stir in the popped popcorn.
Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt, the remaining crushed candy canes and the red and green sprinkles, if using. Let the popcorn set until the white chocolate is firm and then break into pieces and serve or place in jars to gift. Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for about a week.
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