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Pop Up Holiday Fun

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MISSION, KS -- (Marketwire) -- 12/06/12 -- (Family Features) This year, pop up some holiday fun by making these clever -- and delicious -- popcorn treats. With these recipes it's easy to create edible décor, gifts for friends and neighbors, and munchable snacks for the whole family. You can find more creative holiday recipes at

Popcorn TrioYield: VariesCheesy Popcorn6 cups popped popcorn1 tablespoon melted butter, optional1 tablespoon nutritional yeast or brewer's yeast (found at health food stores)1/2 teaspoon curry powder, optionalCaramel Popcorn6 cups popped popcorn1/2 cup sugar1 tablespoon light or dark corn syrup1 tablespoon water2 tablespoons butter1/8 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Plain Popcorn
Cover bottom of 3 to 4-quart pan with thin layer of vegetable oil.

Place 3 kernels of popcorn in pan; cover with a loose lid that allows steam to escape, and heat.

When kernels pop, pour in enough popcorn to cover bottom of pan, one kernel deep; cover pan and shake to evenly spread oil.

Shake as popcorn continues to pop.

When popping begins to slow to a few seconds apart, remove pan from stovetop. The heated oil will still pop remaining kernels.

Sprinkle lightly with popcorn salt, if desired, and store in an airtight container.

Cheesy Popcorn
Follow instructions for making Plain Popcorn.

When you remove popcorn from heat, transfer popcorn to serving bowl. Pour butter over popcorn and toss. Sprinkle yeast and curry powder, if desired, over popcorn and toss to distribute evenly.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Caramel Popcorn
Line large baking sheet with lightly buttered foil.

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil.

Cook syrup over medium heat, without stirring, until amber in color; about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and vanilla until blended.

Stir in popcorn until coated. Spread caramel corn in a single layer onto buttered foil.

Allow to cool before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container until serving time.

Holiday Popcorn SnowmanYield: 10 balls, 5 snowmen (2 balls each)1 1-pound package large marshmallows1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine1 teaspoon vanilla extract10 cups popped popcorn Decorations: sprinkles, licorice, gum drops, cinnamon candies, cookies, etc.

Melt marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour over popcorn and stir.

Butter hands well and form popcorn into balls.

Decorate as desired.

Festive Popcorn TreesYield: 10 trees10 cups air-popped popcorn1 10-ounce bag miniature marshmallows2 tablespoons butter1 teaspoon vanilla extract Decorating sugar (green, blue)*1 tube of white frosting (with decorating tip) Assorted small colorful candies, such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragées

Place popcorn in large bowl.

Place marshmallows and butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.

Line baking sheet with foil.

Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray, then scoop up about 1 cup of popcorn mixture.

Shape mixture into a cone shape, keeping the base flat. This forms the tree.

Sprinkle tree with decorating sugar; place tree on baking sheet. Make the rest of the trees.

Pipe frosting on trees to make a garland, then decorate them with colorful candies.

Serving suggestion: Place each tree on a sugar or gingerbread cookie, and decorate your serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.

Notes: It's important that this recipe starts with unflavored white popcorn for best color and flavor.

*Make your own colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar, stirring in a bowl or shaking vigorously in a sealed container. Add more food coloring for more intense tones.

Holiday Wreath Popcorn TreatsYield: 8 5-inch wreaths3 quarts popped popcorn4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine3 cups miniature marshmallows3 tablespoons (1/2 of a 3-ounce box) lime gelatin dessert mix Decorations: small red candies, jellybeans, red fruit leather, etc.

Spray large mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray and place popcorn inside.

In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert powder until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.

Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into 9-inch logs and then bend to form wreaths.

Place wreaths on wax paper. Press candy decorations onto wreath to decorate. Add a ribbon cut from fruit leather. Serve immediately, or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage.

Gingersnap Popcorn Snack MixYield: 2 quarts2 quarts popped popcorn Butter flavored cooking spray1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute2 teaspoons ground ginger1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg1/4 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Spread popcorn on baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over popcorn.

Spray again with cooking spray and toss to coat evenly.

Bake 7 minutes and serve warm.

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Matthew Barksdale

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