Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Popcorn Cupcakes and other Carnival Party Food

This past weekend the Princess celebrated her 10th birthday with her two cousins (one who is 8 and one who is also 10) at a carnival party. My lovely sister-in-law did most of the planning since it was held in her backyard. I did help with some of the food prep and game prizes, though.

We made popcorn cupcakes that were a huge hit. I say "we" because she baked 'em and I decorated 'em. If you only knew how "outside the comfort zone" decorating a cupcake is for me. But this was so easy, even Marsha can do it!

You'll need 20-24 cupcakes, depending on how many your recipe makes. Let them cool completely before trying to decorate them.

Frost with plain white icing of your choice. To speed things along, we used Duncan Hines frosting in a can, but you can make some from scratch if you choose. We were in a hurry, so we took all the shortcuts we could.

Now here comes the fun (as in messy) part. Take a bag of mini marshmallows and snip each one with kitchen shears. If you don't have kitchen shears, use a sharp knife. Don't cut them in half, just about midway through.

Pinch the uncut ends between your fingers. They will burst open, just like popcorn kernels.

Set aside and repeat with the remaining marshmallows. You can store in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.

Now frost the cupcakes with the plain white icing. Dip the tops into a bowl of the popped marshmallows. Press down lightly. This is so much easier than trying to individually place each marshmallow on the cupcake.

To give the appearance of butter, dilute a few drops of yellow food coloring with water. With a paint brush, lightly dab the color onto the marshmallows.

Digging in!

In addition to the popcorn cupcakes, my sister-in-law made flavored popcorn.

The pink is watermelon, the blue is berry blue, and the red is strawberry

To make the flavored popcorn you need:

10 cups popped corn
1 box (3oz) flavored Jello - we used watermelon, berry blue, and strawberry
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP corn syrup
3 TBSP water

Place the popped corn on a greased baking sheet - very important because the flavored syrup you're about to make will stick to everything if the pan isn't greased or buttered!

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the Jello and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat. Bake at 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Check often to make sure it's not burning.

The strawberry and berry blue flavors tasted just like crunchberries from Cap'n Crunch cereal. I'm not kidding. It was like a sweet blast from the past since that was one of my favorite cereals growing up.

We placed the popcorn, along with some regular buttered popcorn, on a snack table alongside roasted peanuts in the shell and a jar of large pickles. We were trying to keep the carnival theme going.

So, have you ever hosted a carnival? What kinds of foods did you serve?

1 comment:

  1. My daughter had a circus/carnival party for her 5th birthday party this year - so fun!