With Super Bowl buzz in the air, many of us are planning Game Day menus. I made this fast and easy popcorn snack mix to take to a party we're attending. I customized it with the colors of the teams that are playing this year, the Green Bay Packers (green and gold) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (black and gold).
Customize for any occasion. This recipe is so versatile, because it can be modified with colors of any team or school or for any holiday: red/pink for Valentine's Day, green for St. Patrick's Day, red/blue for 4th of July, black/orange for Halloween, red/green for Christmas, etc.
Back to the Super Bowl. At the risk of alienating half of my readers, I might as well reveal that we are die hard Packers fans. (My first loyalty is to the Rams; but sadly, they aren't in the Super Bowl.) You see, King-Man was born and raised on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin. His father and 8 of 9 siblings still live there. King-Man and I met and married in Platteville, Wisconsin. So, even though we've made St. Louis home for over 25 years now, we have strong roots in Wisconsin. And, yes, we own cheeseheads and will be wearing them during the game. Many are likely to envy our classy, attractive headgear. We're used to that.
In the spirit of fair play, I made this popcorn party mix in both team colors: the Steelers and the Packers. It is likely that there will be Steelers fans at the party we're attending, and we Cheeseheads strive to be good sports. We try.
In this recipe, I incorporate the team colors in 2 ways: (1) with M&M's in the team colors (you can purchase them in individual colors at Walmart and several online sources); (2) melted white baking chips dyed with food coloring--this requires some explanation.
Tips about adding food coloring to melted white chocolate or vanilla chips. Most food coloring that is widely available is water based--both the liquid kind in drop bottles and the gel kind in small jars (Wilton Icing Colors pictured below) . When water based food coloring is mixed with melted chocolate or chips, the mixture quickly thickens from a drizzling consistency to a thick paste consistency. This isn't workable for many decorating applications where dipping or precise decorating is desired. However, the thicker mixture works fine in this recipe. So, I used the "regular" icing Wilton gel food coloring to color the melted chips--because that's what I had on hand. You can use the liquid drop bottle kind, as well; but I haven't seen it in black. You'll see in my photos how to incorporate the thickened mixture of colored melted chips into the party mix to get the desired result.
Just so you know, if you want to color melted baking chips or candy and maintain a thinner drizzling consistency, you need to use an oil based food coloring. This isn't easy to find. Not around here anyway. I couldn't find it in any local stores. Wilton makes an oil based Garden Candy Color Set and a Primary Candy Color Set available at Amazon. Candy coloring is oil based and is the best choice for coloring melted white chocolate and baking chips. If you can find it. I've also read that there is a powder form of food coloring that blends well with melted chocolates and chips, but that is even harder to find.
My post, Pretty-in-Pink Popcorn Party Mix, illustrates a similar mix using oil-based food coloring and melted chocolate that maintains a drizzling consistency.
For the purposes of today's recipe, though, you can get by with the water-based gel food coloring.
Step-by-step photos for making Game Day Popcorn Party Mix
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: popcorn (I used oil- and salt-free air-popped); white chips for melting (vanilla or white chocolate); semi-sweet chocolate chips for melting (not pictured); honey roasted peanuts, M&M's in team colors (Walmart has them, or there are numerous online sources); coarse sea salt; canola oil, food coloring (I used Wilton gel icing colors--purchased at Walmart).
Step 2. Line a large baking sheet (mine is 13x18) with parchment or waxed paper. Spread 8 cups of popped corn on the baking sheet. It's easy to pop your popcorn in the microwave. Here's how:
Step 3. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts.
Step 4. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup M&Ms in team colors. Here I used Packers colors: 1/4 cup yellow and 1/4 cup green.
Step 5. Melt the white vanilla or chocolate chips. I add a little canola oil to the chips; this gives the melted chocolate a smoother, glazy texture and appearance. Melt the chips in the microwave using the method described here:
Step 6. Add some food coloring to the melted chips. I used yellow for both the Packers and Steelers party mixes. The melted mixture goes from thin to thick after the food coloring is added.
Step 7. Pour colored mixture on top of popcorn. As explained above, it will have a thick, gloppy consistency. That's okay. Read on.
Step 8. With a spoon, stir the clumps of melted chips around. It doesn't have to cover every piece of popcorn. Just distributed it a bit. Bring up some of the nuts and M&Ms that have settled on the bottom and stick them in the melted chips. It will work like glue to hold some of these pieces together. That makes for better eating.
Step 9. Repeat with the second color. Here I added green coloring to the melted chips for the 2nd Packers color.
Step 10. Stir the melted green chips into the mixture.
Step 11. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt before the melted candy sets completely, so the salt will stick. This makes a yummy sweet & salty taste combo.
Step 12. Let the melted candy cool completely. It's ready to serve and eat. Go Packers!
Same procedure with Steelers' colors. Sprinkle popcorn, peanuts, and yellow and black M&Ms on a tray.
Add the melted yellow white chips, just like for the Packers mix.
Now for the black color. It's hard to add enough black food coloring to white chips to get a black melted color. So, I added a small amount of black food coloring to semi-sweet chocolate chips. They were already a dark color, so it was easier to turn them to black. This also adds yummy chocolate flavor to the mix. Melt these in the microwave, just like the white chips.
Pour the gloppy melted black mixture onto to the popcorn mix.
Stir it in a bit. Not too much. The mix is prettier if the black isn't everywhere. You don't want it to look like dirty popcorn! Remember to sprinkle it with coarse sea salt--that adds important taste.
Let the melted chips completely harden, and it's ready to eat. Go Steelers! (Not really.)
You can make this a day or 2 ahead and store it in an airtight container or sealed plastic bags. 1 batch fits in a gallon size Ziploc.
Here are 2 big bowls of yummy, festive Super Bowl snacks. Fun for every fan!
So, here's my question for you: Packers or Steelers? (I'll still love you either way.)
Make it a yummy day!
Other popcorn recipes that may interest you:
Check out this Popcorn Mix in Giants and Jets colors,
recipe adapted by Rachel at The Avid Appetite