Not your typical cookie-cutter homemade gift: Microwave Popcorn Pucks

Not your typical cookie-cutter homemade gift - Microwave Popcorn Pucks
Not your typical cookie-cutter homemade gift – Microwave Popcorn Pucks

My son’s nutritionist told me to increase his healthy fats and use expeller pressed coconut oil.  After much experimenting in the kitchen, my favorite use for coconut oil so far is for popping popcorn.  My son loves popcorn for a snack and it adds fat to his diet without unnecessary sugars.

Coconut oil sounds like it would have a flavor, but it’s actually neutral.  It’s also hard, unlike most healthy oils.

The process of making popcorn on the stove takes about 7 or 8 minutes, so naturally I wondered if I could make it go faster :-).  Also, the hardness of the oil intrigued me.

So I experimented with these popcorn pucks.  They’re pretty fun.  As it turns out, they don’t cut down on your overall time spent in the kitchen (although popping them later on only takes 2-3 minutes), but they are a nice activity to do with your kids and/or homemade gift.

Note: the pucks got soft when our house was at 75 degrees, but at 70 they were hard again. Keep that in mind when you store them or give as gifts.  In warmer months and/or warmer houses they are best stored in the fridge.

Below are instructions for creating the pucks.  Further down there is a photo collage that helps illustrate the process.

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Supplies:

  • Tin foil
  • Cookie cutters
  • 14 oz jar Expeller pressed coconut oil
  • 21 oz Popcorn kernels
  • Large, preferably microwaveable bowl
  • Saran Wrap, twist ties
  • Microwaveable popcorn popping bowl

 

Other supplies:
Flavoring ingredients (sample recipes below)
Pipe cleaners, tags and a hole puncher (if you’re dressing these up and labeling them for gifts)

Instructions:
Select 8 or 9 cookie cutters and lay them on a flat surface on top of tin foil squares.  You will be pouring warm coconut oil into these later, so form the tin foil upward around the shape of the cookie cutter to prevent oil from escaping from the bottom of the cutter.

Heat up the jar of coconut oil about 30 seconds at a time until you can get all of it into a large, microwaveable bowl.  Stir in the kernels.  If you are using less than one jar of coconut oil, use a ratio of 1.5:1 parts kernels to coconut oil.

Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop mixture into cookie cutters.  If there is extra mixture, distribute evenly between cutters or get out another cutter.  Since all cookie cutters aren’t the same size, you may end up with more or less pucks.

Wait for several hours until the mixture sets.

If you are giving the popcorn as a gift you may want to provide a microwave popcorn bowl, since not everyone has something like that.  I found one for $10 at Walmart.  The bowl plus popcorn pucks make a nice gift for that aunt/uncle/neighbor/family friend heading off to college that your child looks up to.  You get to buy them something useful, and your kiddo can show off their culinary skills with the popcorn pucks.

But I digress.  Once the oil is set, push the hardened shape out of the cutters with your fingers (if it’s taking a while to set, place the puck in your fridge for a bit).

Wrap the shapes in Saran.  Add a little playfulness by using colored plastic wrap, pipe cleaner ties or other fun decorations.

Cooking instructions:
When it’s time to pop, put the unwrapped shape at the bottom of the bowl, cover with the vented lid, place in the microwave and use the popcorn setting (or set for 2-3 minutes).  When there is more than 1 second between pops, it is done.

 

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SAMPLE FLAVORING RECIPES
You could experiment with different flavors by stirring them to the mixture before it’s poured into the cutters.  The recipes below will get your wheels turning.  Each makes one puck (1/2 cup of mixture) – so if you want more than one you’ll have to use multiplication.

I went a little nuts trying different flavors and I could go on.  What I find is that the most fun, experimental flavors are more exciting for grown ups.  So if you’re an adult who is managing ADHD naturally, some of these might sound really neat.  But if you’re feeding a kid, these are the best flavors: unflavored with salt, taco, and sugar cookie (depending on if your kid likes sweet popcorn flavors).

 

Taco:

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Small shake of cayenne pepper powder

 

Sugar Cookie:

  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Liberal pinch of sugar – coconut sugar recommended (because it dissolves nicely)

 

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“ADULTY” FLAVORS


Mayan Chocolate:

  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Liberal shake of cayenne pepper


Straight-up Curry:

  • 1 tsp curry powder


HEAT:

  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


Protein Punch

  • 2 Tbsps 15 gram hemp protein powder
  • 2 Tbsps nut or seed butter


Ranch:

  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • Buzz these into dust using a coffee grinder, then wash the grinder out before your husband sees what you’ve done and add…
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

 

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NO LONGER ADHD-FRIENDLY (But nice to make as a gift):

 

Chocolate:

  • 2 Tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

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FLAVORS I HAVE YET TO TRY (some aren’t recommended for kids):

  • Freeze-dried fruit that’s been powdered in a coffee grinder
  • Nutty Curry: curry with cashew butter or peanut powder
  • Mint Chocolate: peppermint extract, cocoa powder, pinch sugar
  • Snickerdoodle: vanilla and almond extract, pinch sugar, cinnamon
  • Chocolate Mocha: cocoa powder, coffee ground to dust, sugar
  • Fall Spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, vanilla, pinch sugar
  • Peanut Butter Cup: powdered peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, pinch sugar
  • Chivin’ Onion: powdered chives, onion powder, salt
  • Roaster: ground rosemary, thyme, sage, and salt
  • Italian: ground basil, oregano, chili powder, pepper, garlic, onion and salt
  • Sausagy: marjoram, ground sage and thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, pinch sugar

 

 

Popcorn Pucks - ADHD and restrictive Diet Friendly
Photo collage of the popcorn puck process. Disclaimer: I have the world’s most pathetic collection of “mixing” bowls and cookie cutters!!
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