Pop Up Sweet Treats

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(Family Features) When the weather is warm and it’s time for a sweet treat, look for seasonal goodies that complement summertime fun. For example, reach for an option like whole-grain, fluffy and crisp popcorn which can be an easy, DIY snack.

Combine sweet and salty flavors to create something delicious to devour like Coconut Popcorn Crunch Pie or delightful Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn.

To better serve a crowd, try these Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares, Popcorn S’mores or Key Lime Popcorn Clusters at your next family pool party or summertime barbecue with friends.

For more creative, DIY popcorn recipe ideas, visit popcorn.org.

Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn
Yield: 10 cups

3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 cups popped popcorn
1 cup dried apple chips, broken into large pieces
1/4 cup toffee bits

Heat oven to 300 F. Whisk melted butter with vanilla. Toss brown sugar with cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

Toss popcorn with butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Stir. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle apple chips and toffee bits over top. Bake 15 minutes, or until toffee bits start to melt. Cool before serving.

Tip: Add chopped pecans for extra crunch.

Key Lime Popcorn Clusters
Yield: about 32 clusters

8 cups popped popcorn
4 whole graham crackers, finely chopped, divided
1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow creme
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons grated lime peel
1 tablespoon key lime juice

Line 9-inch square pan with foil.

In a large bowl, combine popcorn and all but 2 tablespoons graham cracker pieces.

In a large glass bowl, microwave marshmallow creme and butter on high 1 minute. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in lime peel and lime juice.

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, mixing thoroughly.

Using damp hand, firmly press mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved graham cracker pieces. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm.

Lift foil from pan. Break popcorn mixture into clusters.

Coconut-Popcorn Crunch Pie
Yield: 12 servings

2 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted
1 can (4 ounces) flaked coconut, toasted
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-quart vanilla, spumoni or butter pecan ice cream
fresh fruit, for topping (optional)
chocolate sauce, for topping (optional)

In large, buttered bowl, mix popcorn and coconut. In a saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, butter, water, and salt. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until syrup reaches the hard crack stage (290-295 F).

Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup in a fine stream over popcorn mixture; stir until particles are evenly coated with syrup.

On buttered, 12-inch pizza pan, spread half of the popcorn mixture in a thin layer, covering the bottom of the pan. Mark off into wedge-shaped servings; set aside. Repeat using remaining popcorn mixture; cool.

Cover one layer with ice cream; top with second popcorn layer. Store in freezer. To serve, cut in wedges. Serve with fruit or chocolate sauce, if desired.

Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares
Yield: 12 squares

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
3/4 cup raisins
8 cups air-popped popcorn
nonstick cooking spray

In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter.

Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly; boil 2-3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
In a large bowl, combine raisins and popcorn; pour hot mixture over popcorn and toss carefully with wooden spoons until well-coated.

Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; press popcorn mixture into the pan and cool completely.

Cut into squares and serve.

Popcorn S’mores
Yield: 20 pieces

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 cups freshly popped popcorn
1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
2 cups mini graham cookies
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.

Cook over high heat 5 minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

In a large bowl, combine popcorn and marshmallows.

Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.

Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.

Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan.

Let cool completely. Break into pieces.
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Source: Popcorn Board

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