Make White Chocolate & Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls recipe for an easy holiday treat that’s perfect for parties or for Christmas food gifts.
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A couple weeks ago, I needed crushed peppermint candies for a recipe I was working on. David went to the grocery store with a shopping list that included either peppermint candies or candy canes. Or, better yet, already crushed peppermint, which I had seen last year at Winco in their bulk bins.
David went off to the store and came home with a box of candy canes. Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem at all, but for some reason, the candy canes that he bought were VERY attached to their little wrappers. It was almost like they were glued on. To unwrap THREE candy canes, it took me 10 minutes. I wish I was joking.
Fast forward a few days and we headed to Winco to do our usual grocery shopping. I also had to buy ingredients for recipes for the blog, one of which was more peppermints. Or (ugh) more candy canes. But I was hopeful to find the crushed peppermint in the Winco bulk bins.
We approached the area of the bulk bins and, as I turned a corner, THERE IT WAS. In all its glory: crushed peppermint. A precious timesaver for my holiday recipes.
This stuff makes me incredibly happy. Probably a bit too happy.
I know you might not have a Winco store near you, but if you do and if you need crushed peppermint, you should definitely look for it. And, seriously, why doesn’t one of the peppermint or candy cane companies sell bags of this already?
If you’ve never crushed your own peppermint candies or candy canes, I hope I didn’t scare you away from it. Actually, crushing your own peppermint is very easy (excluding if you buy candy canes with horrible wrappers on it). I’ve crushed peppermint candies many, many times both in my Cuisinart or by putting it in a bag and pounding the crap out of it with a kitchen mallet. If you don’t have pre-crushed peppermint in your store, one of those options will work just fine for you.
With my beautiful crushed peppermint, I was able to start getting creative with it. The theme for the December #12Bloggers event is “White Chocolate & Peppermint”, so as I started thinking about ideas using both of these flavors. My thoughts turned to the popcorn balls my mom used to make, mostly (always?) for Halloween.
It doesn’t seem like popcorn balls are as popular as they once were. Maybe I’m wrong? But, even if they aren’t as popular, I still love them and I thought white chocolate and peppermint would be delicous in a popcorn ball and decided to give it a try.
The results were delicious and now I think we have a new Christmas tradition in our house. I even put them on a stick (actually, a paper straw), which made them extra fun!
To make this White Chocolate & Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls recipe, you’ll need to pop about 12 cups of popped popcorn. Put it into a big bowl that will have plenty of room for combining the popcorn with the melted chocolate and marshmallow mixture. If you don’t have a very large bowl, you could use a large baking sheet (give it a light coat with cooking spray).
On your stove top, you’ll melt together butter, mini marshmallows, and white chocolate chips over low heat. Note: don’t worry if all of the chocolate chips melt completely. I think it’s okay, and even preferred, if you have tiny bits of unmelted white chocolate chips in this mixture.
Once the mixture is melted, you’ll need to work fairly quickly to combine it with the popcorn. Drizzle about 1/3 of the mixture over the popcorn and work quickly to stir and fold the popcorn together with the chocolate/marshmallow mixture, using a silicone spatula. Continue adding the rest of the mixture to the popcorn.
TIP: I totally *love* this KitchenAid Gourmet Cherrywood Silicone Scraper Spatula that my husband bought me for my birthday last year. It’s heat resistant up to 500 degrees F and very sturdy and wide. I also really like how this one has a wood handle.
Very quickly after all of the chocolate/marshmallow mixture is combine with the popcorn, you’ll sprinkle in the crushed peppermint in a few different batches. Then, with greased hands, form balls with the popcorn. Make sure to you don’t squeeze and compact the popcorn too much. You want to form the balls just just enough so that they are holding together. Immediately after forming the popcorn ball, place it on a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet and insert a paper drinking straw into the middle, pushing it in until it nearly reaches the opposite side. If desired, press additional crushed peppermint into the popcorn balls.
To serve this Christmas popcorn balls recipe, you can simply place them on a tray. To make them even cuter, you can set them in a festive baking cup.
You can also wrap them up for gift giving, selling at a bake sale, or taking them to a party. I prefer to use something clear so that you can see the popcorn ball, so I went with cut square of clear cellophane tied with a bow. Other options are wrapping them with plastic wrap or placing them in treat bags.
White Chocolate & Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls Recipe
Here’s the full recipe — if you wish to save this recipe for later, please be sure to pin it to Pinterest!
White Chocolate & Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls Recipe
- 12 cups popped popcorn
- 10 ounces miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes if desired, plus additional for outside of popcorn balls
- Additional butter for greasing hands
- Optional: thick paper drinking straws or wooden popsicle sticks
Place popped popcorn in a large bowl with room for mixing. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and white chocolate chips to the butter. Melt marshmallows and white chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. When marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted (it's okay if you have small piece of chocolate that haven't melted), remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract.
Drizzle about 1/3 of the chocolate/marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and work quickly to fold it together with a rubber or silicone spatula. Repeat with the remaining mixture in two batches, again working quickly to combine the chcoolate/marshmallow mixture with the popcorn. Sprinkle some of the crushed peppermint over the popcorn and combine with the popcorn. Repeat with the remaining peppermint until it has been somewhat evenly distributed among the popcorn.
Grease hands with a small amount of butter. At this point, the coated popcorn should still be very warm, but cooled enough to be safe to shape into balls. Shape into approximately 3" popcorn balls. Do not press the popcorn together too firmly, you want to press together just enough so that the popcorn holds its shape.
Place popcorn ball on prepared baking sheet. Immediately insert a paper straw or stick into the center of the popcorn ball, pushing it all the way down until it reaches the opposite end. If desired, press or roll popcorn balls into a bit of additional crushed peppermint.
Recipe NotesFor wrapping: If you wish to give these popcorn balls as a gift, sell as a bake sale, or bring to a party, wrap each popcorn ball with a square of clear cellophane or plastic wrap or place in a plastic treat bag and tie closed with a ribbon.
Want even more white chocolate & peppermint recipes?
My White Chocolate & Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls Recipe is my contribution to the December #12Bloggers Event that happens on the 12th of every month. It includes myself and 11 blogging friends and we all create recipes around a common theme — all of the recipes have 12 ingredients or less too. This months theme is White Chocolate and Peppermint Recipes — here are the links to all of the other holiday treats:
- White Chocolate Peppermint Puppy Chow by Big Bear’s Wife
- White Chocolate Peppermint hi-hat Cupcakes by Betsy Life
- White Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Popcorn Balls by Home Cooking Memories
- White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse by Cooking on the Front Burner
- White Chocolate Peppermint Oreo Cheesecake Jars by Love Bakes Good Cakes
- White Chocolate Peppermint Mocktini by Thyme for Cocktails
- White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies by Bread Booze Bacon
- White Chocolate Peppermint Candy Bark by A Night Owl
- White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Candy by Pink Cake Plate
- White Chocolate Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls by I Love My Disorganized Life
- Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Dip by See Vanessa Craft
- White Peppermint Fudge Recipe by Around My Family Table