Celebrate Earth Day by making these Chocolate Popcorn Trees! They are so simple to make and are great projects for your kids to join in on making!
Our world has changed so much in just my lifetime and sadly not for the better in a lot of ways. We’ve made human life easier through industrialization, but more detrimental to the planet we live on. I heard recently that it is estimated that 1000 dolphins and whales are killed in fishing nets every day. Millions of other sea creatures are dying or having their health effected by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an enormous pile of swirling trash in the ocean. According to a New York Times article it is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. It’s awful!
I have become very conscious of the things I do that have a real impact on our planet and have made many changes; I recycle, use fabric shopping bags, drive a hybrid car, buy energy efficient appliances, use only florescent or led light bulbs, compost our food waste, grow vegetables and fruits in our yard, and have even been known to pick up litter while taking a walk on the beach. My husband and I are constantly looking for ways to make our lives more environmentally friendly. I’m not perfect; I like my air conditioning way too much to give it up, use too many paper towels, and package my chocolates in cellophane bags – but I’m trying.
Taking time with nature is a vital part of my life. I love to hike, walk my dogs, and ride my bike along the river. Just sitting on my front porch is one of my favorite things to do. My neighbors across the street all have beautiful flowers and trees for us to look at while we just relax and enjoy the fresh air. To celebrate the warm porch sitting weather, the new life of spring, and Earth Day, I created some chocolate trees topped with white chocolate popcorn leaves. Some even are adorned with candy fruit.
Chocolate Popcorn Trees
Before you begin If you don’t have much experience working with confectionery coating/candy melts, you might want to read my Chocolate Making Tips.
melted light cocoa candy melts/confectionery coating*
melted green candy melts (or color white melts using green candy coloring)*
popped popcorn (air popped works best)*
colorful candies, optional – Candy Coated Sunflower Seeds, Candy Buttons, or M&M’s
*The amount of each of these ingredients will depend on the size and quantity of your trees. I used 6 ounces of the light cocoa candy melts to make the trunks and branches of my 5 trees. I mixed 10 ounces of green candy melts with 6 cups of popped popcorn for the leaves.
parchment or wax paper
disposable pastry bag or zip top bag
Line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Pour melted light cocoa candy melts into a disposable pastry bag or zip top bag. Pipe a tree trunk with branches onto the parchment paper. Refrigerate for 3-5 minutes, just until hardened. Continue to pipe trees until you have the desired number of trees.
Pour popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Pour melted green candy coating over popcorn and stir and toss until well combined.
Immediately spoon green popcorn over the branches of your trees. If you don’t work quickly, and the popcorn hardens in the bowl, heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds, then stir. Heat more if needed.
While the popcorn is still wet, add colored candy pieces to create fruit trees if desired. Refrigerate your trees for about 5 minutes until hardened. I used yellow candy coated sunflower seeds to make lemon trees, and jumbo candy buttons to make the apples and oranges. You could use M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, confetti decorations, or even make your own using candy melts.
You can make your trees more sturdy by turning them over and piping chocolate on the back of the tree trunk and adding more popcorn to the backside too.
Note: To create the grass in my scene, I colored coconut using green food coloring.
In 2003, I created my first chocolate popcorn tree to be part of a Peeps on the Farm in Ohio basket. Just Born, the maker of Peeps, was hosting a contest asking entrants to use Peeps to create a scene featuring their home state. It was Ohio’s bicentennial and all over the state white barns were painted with the bicentennial logo, so I chose to create a fun day on the farm scene out of chocolate, candy and Peeps. The only things in this entire scene that aren’t edible are the basket, the pole holding the airplane, and the toothpick fishing poles. The buckeye tree, the official state tree, has tiny peanut butter fudge buckeyes sitting among it’s white chocolate popcorn leaves. I didn’t win the $10,000 grand prize, but I did win first prize in my state and received a year’s supply of Peeps – 365 packages of Peeps arrived on my doorstep in several huge boxes. I was passing out Peeps for months.