There’s no shortage of kid-friendly finger foods. For generations, there’s been Cheerios. Now there are Little Duck’s Dehydrated Fruits, HappyPuffs’ Organic Superfoods, Plum Organics’ Organic Super Puffs… there’s an entire shelf at the grocery store dedicated to this kind of stuff. Well, that’s great for plane rides, etc., but it’s movie day. We’re making popcorn. And not just any popcorn. We’re coating it in white chocolate, covering it in sprinkles and sprinkling it with salt for that salty-sweet *bang*. It’s a party inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction and her tantalizing pictures of “puppy chow”. Think Chex, candy and melted chocolate.
Mingus is eager to use the slow cooker, so when I ask him to pour a bag of white chocolate chips inside, he steps up onto a stool and gets to work.
Looking at the pile of white chocolate chips, he quickly decides he must taste one.
“Mommy, would you like to try it?” he asks and offers me several with an outstretched hand.
Mingus sets the slow cooker to “slow cook” on “low” for ten minutes. The chips begin to sweat and he realizes what is happening.
“Mommy, they are going to melt!”
“Of course. That’s the point.”
“I’m taking some out. I don’t want all of them to melt.”
We have about eight more minutes until the chocolate is ready to prepare the rest of the ingredients. We’ll be pouring melted chocolate over popcorn, then shaking sprinkles on top.
To avoid cleanup, we’re going to use parchment paper underneath the popcorn. Mingus finds the roll of paper under our sink, we measure it out, and he cuts it as straight as he can. He loves scissors, so I explain each step and he follows it exactly. It is only as he cuts the last snip that he asks, “Why are we cutting paper?” Whoops, I forgot to explain that part – the gooey mess cleaning part. It makes perfect sense to me, but on the other hand, he doesn’t seem to mind licking chocolate off his fingers, off the work space. He would lick the drips off the floor if I let him. Mingus puts the paper on a cookie sheet, when I say, “It’s a good idea. You’ll see.”
I check the slow cooker. The chocolate is melting nicely; we have just a few more minutes to make the popcorn.
My personal preference is for stove top popcorn, but hot oil is too dangerous for a three year old. We’re going to use an air popper instead. It’s not a 0-3 toy, but with minor supervision, I’ve decided it’s safe enough.
Mingus puts together the three-part puzzle that is the air popper.
“Where does this go?”
“You can figure it out – just take a moment with it.”
He’s able to do it. He pours the kernels in, puts the lid on top, and I plug it in. The kernels begin to dance, then pop one-by-one and then in a torrent they rise out of the machine into the bowl next to it.
Mingus tosses the popcorn onto our cookie sheet…
then spreads them out evenly.
I lift the bowl with melted chocolate out of the slow cooker and place it next to the popcorn.
and dribbles it over the popcorn.
Then, he shakes sprinkles over the gooey treats. I dust a small amount of salt over top because – as every popcorn aficionado knows – sweet and salty is a winning combination.
Mingus mixes up the popcorn for fun, shakes some more sprinkles on the pile, and takes a bite.
“Mommy, do you know what the deliciousness part is?”
“Eating is the deliciousness part!”
- ½ Cup Popcorn Kernels
- 10 oz White Chocolate Chips
- Generous Sprinkles
- A Dash of Salt
- A child can pour a bag of white chocolate chips into a slow cooker, then set it to heat on “low” for ten minutes.
- White the chocolate melts, a child can cut a piece of parchment paper, the size of a cookie sheet.
- Then, pop the corn kernels. If you use an air popper, a small child can do everything except plug it in – they can assemble the machine, pour in the kernels and catch the popped corn in a large bowl. Cooking popcorn on the stove is an adult activity because of the heating element and oil that usually spatters, but microwave popcorn is another kid-friendly option.
- Spread the popped corn over the parchment paper.
- Once the white chocolate chips have melted, an adult can remove the pan from the slow cooker and place it next to the popcorn. Let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes so that it does not “melt” the popcorn.
- Then a child can scoop spoonful after spoonful of white chocolate, drizzling it over top of the popcorn.
- With the chocolate still gooey, even the smallest child can go crazy, shaking sprinkles over the popcorn.
- Shake a dash of salt over the popcorn. It’s easy to overdo the salt, so I recommend letting an adult do this part.
- Let those fabulous popcorn puffs sit for 20 minutes so the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!