I am that awful childless person that likes to feed other people’s kiddies up on sugar.
I know, I know, either you are that person too and you’re laughing along with me, or you’re the parent and you are giving me that look that parents somehow develop when they have children (and I am now a tiny bit scared.)
Sometimes I make sugary treats for kids just because I know they’ll like it, and it makes me happy to make kids happy. And sometimes, I do these things subconsciously. This one time, I took my best friend’s daughter into a service station to get her a drink. We stood in front of the juice fridge and she picked out one in a cute bottle (if you’re a parent, you read ‘cute bottle’ and now know exactly where this is going). Thinking we were being totally virtuous, I paid for the ‘juice’ and we left. It’s fruit juice, right? Um no, not unless someone has started juicing gummi fruits. I asked Jaz what flavour juice it was. She didn’t know, so we read the label. And it said… “PINK LOLLY WATER”. Ok it didn’t say that, but it basically was. Too late, half the bottle had already been consumed. Oops, bad aunty.
But, if you look at this fruity party popcorn and think, “seriously, Natalie, you’ve just sugared and coloured up some popcorn and now you’re going to feed it to my kid. Thanks. Really, thanks.” Well I say this to you, “Ha! It’s FRUIT!”
Ok, ok, there is a little bit of sugar, because yum. BUT, it’s freeze-dried fruit powder that gives this popcorn its colour and delicious flavour. And it’s pretty. Even better, there is no artificial colouring whatsoever and it’s naturally gluten free.
I reckon this popcorn is the perfect kid’s party food, and when the mothers start giving you “the look”, you can laugh and tell them what I told you, y’know, about it being fruit and all.
You can pop your popcorn whichever way you want, I went with the stove top method ‘cause I always seem to burn it in the microwave. Once your corn is popped, it needs to cool before you add the fruit powder, as the powder clumps like crazy with any moisture (which is why all my powders get sealed in their own bags and then stored in an airtight container… I’ve had several packets not seal properly and become one giant moist lump of fruit. Not pretty, or particularly useable.) The popcorn will cool quickly when spread on a baking tray.
Then everything just gets shaken together in a bag. So hard, right?! This stuff is crazy good and so easy to make that I almost feel ridiculous writing out a recipe.
Freeze-dried fruit powder is available online and from cake decorating suppliers.Our local supermarket even sells it sometimes, otherwise I buy mine from Kiwicakes. I went with raspberry fruit powder for this, but there are so many different flavours to choose from. If it’s a pale coloured powder (like, say, passionfruit or pineapple) and you really want it to be yellow to match, you could add a little powdered colouring (but unless it’s natural colouring, that’s kinda defeating our “let’s not hype the kids up” plan, right?)
And for a little girl’s fairy or princess party, I reckon a little edible glitter sprinkled on top would look just perfect.
This has the small person seal of approval – Jaz and I made it last month, the day after Wellington’s last major earthquake. It seemed appropriate for us to shake up a snack 😉 So as well as being a perfect party food, it’s also a pretty damn tasty snack for adults and children alike.
This needs to be made pretty close to serving time since the popcorn goes a bit soft and chewy after a while, but you could have the fruit powder and icing sugar all ready to go in the bag and just toss it together when you’re ready. And if you do make it a little in advance, an airtight container is the best place to store it.
- 3 Tablespoons unflavoured oil (I use rice bran oil)
- 1/3 cup (approx. 110g) popcorn kernels
- 2 Tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 Tablespoon freeze dried fruit powder (any flavour)
- Heat the oil and a few of the popcorn kernels in a saucepan over medium high heat. Use a deep pan that will comfortably fit the popcorn kernels in a single layer on the bottom. When those first few kernels pop, remove the pot from the heat, add in the rest of the kernels and place the lid on the pot. Shake the pot until the kernels are in a single layer on the bottom. Wait half a minute or so, and then return the pot to a medium heat. When the kernels begin popping, start gently shaking the pan to encourage the un-popped kernels back to the bottom of the pot. If your lid doesn’t have a steam vent then try to crack the lid open a bit to let the steam out. When the popping slows almost to a stop, remove the pan from the heat and tip the popcorn onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
- While the popcorn cools, sift the icing sugar and fruit powder into a large resealable plastic bag, and shake the bag to combine them.
- Tip in the popcorn and seal the bag, making sure you leave some air in the bag. Shake it all up to combine. If your popcorn doesn’t quite have enough flavour or colour, add in a bit more fruit powder.
The popcorn is best made as close to serving as possible, but if making it a little in advance then store it in an airtight container.