Puffinos (pronouced puff-een-oes), are a deliciously simple treat that we had fun inventing in the summer of 2015. We were camping right on the beach at beautiful Tofino, BC on the westernmost coast of Canada. After a day of serious energy expenditure boogie boarding and surfing with friends in perfect washing machine waves followed with a delicious dinner, we roasted marshmallows around the campfire. We decided to pop some corn over the fire too. With a handful of lightly sea salted fire-popped corn and a perfectly caramelized roasted marshmallow in the other, the merger took place. We happened to have some toasted coconut and hemp hearts on hand for our morning oatmeal (because that’s how we ‘tough it out’ when camping:). We sprinkled these over the melted marshmallow-popcorn combo and the Puffino was born! That evening we ‘brain-surfed’ a lengthy gourmet list of toppings for our future boutique Puffino shop. The new Nanaimo bar? These are a simple, yet yummy treat to make even when you only have a few baking ingredients on hand. The kids love them.
Bonus: they’re gluten-free and considerably lower in fat and calories than a traditional chocolate truffle or rum ball. Enjoy and surf on into a happy new year ahead! #8020
Puffinos Makes 40 treats
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 6 cups mini marshmallows (approx. 1 bag) or about 60 regular sized
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- Optional toppings: crumbled toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds or coconut, sugar sprinkles, melted dark chocolate and/or caramel bits
- In a large saucepan with lid, combine oil and popcorn kernels. Cover. Place on burner over high heat until popcorn pops, about 4-5 minutes. To avoid scorching, listen carefully near the end of popping and remove from heat just before final kernels pop. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, carefully removing any un-popped kernels. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. This makes about 16 cups of popcorn. Remove and set aside about 4 cups. (Alternately, air popped corn can be used if preferred.)
- Assemble in advance any toppings you wish to apply to the Puffinos before they set.
- Rinse out the same saucepan and add butter and marshmallows as you would for rice crispy cake. Heat over low, stirring often, until marshmallows are melted, but not caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Working quickly, pour melted marshmallows over popcorn and stir well to coat. If needed to form a firmer mixture, add more popcorn from the reserved 4 cups. Once cool enough to handle, again, work quickly to shape into popcorn balls of any size you like. Keeping hands slightly damp with water helps. (Makes 40 Puffinos, about 1½ times the size of a golf ball.)
- Before they set fully, roll tops or the whole ball in garnishes like toasted coconut, sprinkled or crushed almonds. If garnishing with chocolate or caramel drizzle, apply once the Puffinos are firm and fully cooled. Allow to stand for the drizzle to set before eating. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.