By Cheryl Mailloux of Sterilite Corporation
Growing up, I remember our house being filled with the aroma of baked goods, especially when holidays were near. My mother never wanted to be without a gift when unexpected company arrived or when invites to parties came in. To ease some of the stress, she would start in early December actively making baked goods and candies and storing them in airtight containers in a cool place within our home. This allowed her the ability to make others’ holiday seasons bright without spending a lot, and to feel confident that the gifts would always be enjoyed!
Here is a traditional holiday treat that I love to make ahead of time with my kids and pass out to friends and neighbors during the holiday season. The sweet and salty combination makes it a hit with everyone. The best part of this recipe is that you can add or subtract ingredients to suit your personal preferences. It’s also fun to change the ingredients based on party themes or seasonal events. This recipe makes a large batch, but is such a hit that it is one of the first to disappear!
White Chocolate Popcorn
16 cups of popped popcorn
1 1/2 cup of Cheerios®
1 1/2 cup of Craisins®
1 bag of M&M’s ®
2 cups of pretzels, lightly broken
1 cup of nuts (almonds or cashews, optional)
2 - 12oz bags of white chocolate chips
1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Select your favorite brand of plain popcorn and follow the package instructions to pop. I like to make mine on the stovetop as the kids always enjoy watching the kernels pop.
In an extra large bowl, combine popcorn, Cheerios®, Cranrasins®, M&M’s®, pretzels, nuts if you choose to use them. If needed, split ingredients between two large bowls to allow items to be thoroughly mixed in the steps below.
In a double boiler, combine the white chocolate chips and the vegetable oil and melt on medium-low heat. Stir until smooth then remove from the heat.
Helpful Hint: I like to purchase my white chocolate chips in early November as they typically become harder to find once December rolls around. The Ultra+Latch 12.6 Cup Square containers are perfect for storing all of my baking ingredients, and will hold several bags of chocolate chips keeping them fresh and easily accessible when baking.
Pour the white chocolate mixture over the popcorn mixture and gently toss to coat. Then spread the mixture out on two large baking sheets and allow to sit for two hours so the chocolate can set.
Serve in small snack bowls or place mixture in an airtight container to have on hand for future use. I like to make several batches of this during the holidays, and store in an airtight container ahead of time. I then purchase small themed containers to fill and hand out to neighbors and friends. When stored properly in a cool, dry place, this recipe can last two to three weeks … or until my kids and husband find it.
Here is hoping that your season is bright and your treats are a delight!