Peppermint Popcorn Balls

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Peppermint Popcorn Balls pin |

It’s the season of the Holiday Cookie Exchange! To many, it’s a beloved tradition – where each participant brings only one variety of homemade treat – and everyone goes home with over a dozen different types of cookies, bars, fudge or other treat. But, to my sister-in-law, it’s the dreaded Holiday Cookie Swap. She doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to come up with a home baked recipe. So this recipe for Peppermint Popcorn Balls is for her.

If you can open a package of marshmallows, and if you have a microwave, you are set. I tweaked this Candy Corn Popcorn Balls recipe from Cooking Light – which requires no cooking: It’s as easy as making microwave popcorn. For a festive touch, I added crushed peppermint candies and chocolate (melted in the microwave) to the original recipe. Thanks to this original, kid-friendly treat, you (and my sister-in-law) will fear the Holiday Cookie Exchange no more.

Peppermint Popcorn Balls |

Peppermint Popcorn Balls

Makes 22 popcorn balls


  • 18 cups freshly popped popcorn (yes, you really need this much popcorn!)
  • 5 candy canes (or 25 peppermint candies,) crushed
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag mini-marshmallows
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon shortening


  1. In a very large bowl, mix together popcorn and all but about 2 tablespoons of crushed candy canes. Place the reserved 2 tablespoons candy canes on a large plate.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix marshmallows and butter. Melt in the microwave for about 5 minutes on 70% power, stirring halfway through. (Microwave times will vary so watch closely.) Immediately, pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn mixture. Spray cooking spray on your hands and working quickly, form popcorn mixture into 22 balls and place onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roll each popcorn ball in the plate with crushed peppermint and place back on baking sheet.
  3. Place chocolate chips, and shortening in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 50% power for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Chocolate should be almost fully melted; stir to melt completely. Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over popcorn balls. Wrap balls in sheets of plastic wrap if desired.

Do you participate in a Holiday Cookie Exchange? If so, what recipe are you making for it this year?


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  1. says

    Such a fun and yummy project-my kids would love this! It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a cookie exchange. Was thinking of hosting one myself this year, but somehow I’ve already run out of time for the holidays!! Maybe next year… :-)

  2. nancylee says

    Just made these and am impressed by their yumminess!
    I used air popped popcorn and decided to add the crushed peppermint to the marshmallow-butter mixture at the end of its cooking process, immediately prior to pouring over popcorn rather than mixing with the dry popcorn; glad that I did. I have no idea what power my microwave is set at, nor do I know how to change it so I stirred after the first 2 minutes, then after the third and removed at about 3 and a half minutes.
    This microwave mixture didn’t harden as quickly as the traditional stove top method used for rice krispie bars (maybe due to reduced cooking time? or perhaps to method) and in this instance that was a good thing, allowing time to form the popcorn balls without necessitating the dreaded game of “Beat the Clock”.
    I melted 85% chocolate and drizzled over and once balls placed aside to set, I proceeded to scrape the marshmallow-peppermint residue from its cooking vessel and scarf with abandon; it was THAT good!
    All went seamlessly and, not only a cinch to make, it doesn’t break the bank and takes maybe 20-30 minutes beginning to end.
    Anticipate that the popcorn balls will be wonderfully tasty and add a colorful festive dimension to the Holiday Party.

  3. says

    For the first time in many, many years, I was invited to a cookie exchange this year. I had just moved from Cairo to Dubai the week before and was working in an abbreviated kitchen (just my air freight things) so I made an old favorite, chewy almonds macaroons. I am in awe of your moving just two weeks before Christmas with all of your little ones! I hope you had a wonderful holiday full of warmth and good will. Happy New Year!

    (Glad to have found you through a RT on Twitter!)
    Stacy recently posted..Quick Lemon CurdMy Profile

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