White Chocolate Candy Cane Popcorn is a dead easy, no-bake treat anyone can make. When you stock up your pantry for holiday baking be sure to include white chocolate and candy canes so you're ready to make this at any moment.
A good hostess needs lots of ideas to keep any gathering lively and fun. This is a simple party activity for kids of all ages and popcorn lovers alike. Depending on the ages you can pop the popcorn in advance or let them do that too. Making this is so easy you could even pack it up and take it to a party anywhere.
Be sure to have cellophane bags and pretty ribbon so you get a few edible gifts made at the same time. (Ziplock bags work but those cellophane bags are my favourite.) Add a hand written gift tag and give generously; teachers, friends and neighbours will all appreciate some.
Are Candy Canes Gluten Free
Once you've been gluten free for a few minutes you know that gluten is everywhere. Usually written right on the label as wheat, barley or rye. As shocking as it may be, food manufacturing keeps us all learning about what is actually in the food we eat so that's a good thing.
Gluten free sleuths know to read every label, every time.
Candy canes will keep from year to year so my best advice is plan ahead and stock up. You can substitute any hard peppermint candies for the candy canes, but a holiday treat sounds fun with the words 'candy cane' in it.
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Crushing Candy Canes
The idea is to make the activity include all the prep. Unwrapping candy canes, smashing them, popping the popcorn and melting the chocolate. I include a quick clean up as part of the job (to the ability of the crowd). Do this while the popcorn hardens then move on to packaging some for gift giving.
These days most of us would get a little satisfaction from smashing candy canes but young kids love this job! It's like asking them to break something and they can't believe they get to do it.
Kitchen Tip - Durable freezer bags work better than regular sandwich bags since the bag will have holes in it from all the sharp edges. Simply place the bag on a cutting board, cover it with a towel and smash away using the smooth side of a kitchen mallet or a hammer.
I like bits of crushed candy cane large enough to show the colours. You'll also have some candy cane dust that can go in the popcorn or be set aside to sprinkle on cookies or the whipped cream on your holiday drinks.
This year I'm putting some of that dust inside my chocolate bombs for a candy cane flavoured hot chocolate.
Microwave Melted Chocolate
Melting chocolate in the microwave is quick and easy, the same as burning it is. To avoid burning it follow these tips.
- Place the chocolate in a bowl just large enough to hold the amount of chocolate you're melting.
- Heat the chocolate on high for one minute. Stir.
- Heat again for 30 seconds and stir. The last bits will melt with a good stir so stop microwaving before it's completely smooth. I leave the spatula in the bowl and microwave it too.
- Repeat in 30 second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is smooth.
Get The Tools
If you've ever heard of 'popcorn lung' you've probably heard about the risks of eating microwave popcorn. I'm not up on the current manufacturing practises for microwave popcorn because I switched to a hot air popper years ago.
A hot air popper is the perfect gift for any house with popcorn lovers. They're inexpensive and last forever so choose wisely.
- Old-fashioned hot air popcorn maker.
- Silicone Popcorn Popper for the microwave that's collapsable!
- Vintage Table Top Kettle Popcorn Maker.
- A kitchen mallet to crush candy canes.
- Mold for making Chocolate Bombs.
If you tried this last minute holiday recipe, as an activity or an edible gift, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Initially posted December 2015, updated December 2021.
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More Recipes - Holiday Baking
White Chocolate Candy Cane Popcorn
- 12 cups plain popped popcorn
- 12 oz white chocolate chips or squares (340g)
- ½ cup crushed gluten free candy canes
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Put popcorn in a large bowl or deep pan with sides.
- Put chocolate in a bowl just large enough to hold it. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir well. Microwave another 30 seconds, stirring well until smooth.
- Pour chocolate evenly over popcorn. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top and gently mix to combine.
- Turn out onto prepared baking sheets and allow to harden, about 30 minutes.
- Break cooled popcorn into chunks and serve in a large glass bowl decorated with additional candy canes.
- For gifts, fill cellophane bags, tie with ribbon and add a handwritten gift tag.