If you're a child of the '70s, then you'll probably remember Pop Rocks, those fizzy little candies that created such a buzz. They went out of style in the States for a while, but now they're back with retro status. I was surprised to see them in my kids' Halloween bags a few years ago, and one taste brought me back to my childhood.
Pop Rocks, or popping candy, are little pieces of hard candy that have been exposed to carbon dioxide under intense pressure (that basically means they're carbonated). When these carbonated candies touch moisture (like the saliva on your tongue), the carbon dioxide bubbles release. It's like a little party in your mouth and, unless you're dead inside, they give you an instant, happy sensation.
These candies, which come in a rainbow of colors, add sparkle to desserts and cocktails. And you only need a small amount to get a large amount of fizzy satisfaction and the accompanying popping noise, so it won't overly sweeten your creations. If you're worried that garnishing with popping candy is too lowbrow for your next cocktail party, then consider this: the famous Spanish restaurant, Arzak, which has three Michelin stars, sometimes uses Pop Rocks in its desserts.
Tip: The sooner you eat Pop Rocks after you open them, the more intense the bubble explosions will be. But don't worry, even using them as an ingredient a few hours or a day before will still give you some fizz.
Strawberries coated in chocolate are one of the most perfect creations for everyday or special occasions, and the Pop Rocks add excitement to these happy treats.
To create: Wash and dry strawberries. Prepare your favorite melted chocolate recipe or candy melts, which you can find in most grocery stores. Coat the strawberries with the chocolate and put them down on parchment paper to dry. Immediately after placing down, sprinkle with Pop Rocks. Place in refrigerator to harden.
These themed cocktails are perfect for Fourth of July, of course, and any other celebratory event that requires a little edible fireworks (birthdays, engagements, etc.), but you can also do this at cocktail parties for an unexpected twist.
At my next cocktail party, I'm planning on making Pop Rocks-rimmed glasses with a cocktail that has Coke in it, for a twist on the famous Pop Rocks Urban Myth. As kids, we all believed that eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coke would make our stomachs explode. It's obviously not true.
Even though these are candy, a little goes a long way in terms of snap, crackle, and pop, so feel free to use it to elevate your every day. It adds sensation but doesn't make things overly sweet. Dust some Pop Rocks on your yogurt parfaits, sorbets, and even your cereal to add some sparkle and excitement to your treat.
For a delicious and easy summer dessert that will make the most of in-season watermelon, try this watermelon with mint and Pop Rocks recipe. Perfect for the Fourth of July, birthdays, and as an after-dinner pick-me-up.
Just like chocolate-covered strawberries, the flavor combo of chocolate-covered potato chips are always delicious. The salty and sweet treat is enhanced by the addition of chocolate pop rocks in this recipe by Food Beast.
For pretty alcoholic jello jigglers, cut your jello into squares and serve with colored sugar and a sprinkling of Pop Rocks.
To create: Dissolve the package of the lime jello into the boiling water, stirring to mix well. Add the cold water and vodka and stir. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch pan and refrigerate until jello sets (about 4 hours). Cut into squares or shapes or use as "cocktails."
For futuristic theme parties or Halloween-type events, serve the jello in clumps in a martini glass. Dust with Pop Rocks, a splash of vodka, and other translucent sprinkles. The popping noise of the candy on the jello will only add to its primordial ooze mystique.
If you want to make the popping sensation a secret, then using Pop Rocks inside your chocolate is the way to go. And if you don't want to make your own, then try out the official Pop Rocks Milk Chocolate candy bars.
The list is pretty much endless for what you can put Pop Rocks in. Salads, cakes, shrimp, yogurt, and more. What foods do you use Pop Rocks candy in? Share your recipes in the comments below!