Harry Potter Treats

This is part I in a mini-series of Harry Potter snacks from the books brought to life (part II is all about the cauldron cakes, part III features every wizard's favorite drink—butterbeer!— and part IV showcases decadent butterbeer cupcakes).

Harry Potter has always held a special place in my life. I started reading the books when I was 11 years old. Harry and I grew up together. The books were as much of a part of my childhood as school or my friends. I've read them more times than I can count—so much so, that many of my cherished hardcover books have began to fall apart at the seams.

Harry Potter and his world have always held a magical quality for me. When I was younger, the wizarding world seemed so close to me that, if I closed my eyes, for the briefest of seconds I could almost imagine myself in it. Thanks to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and briefly living in England for 6 months, those faint dreams of my youth have become more of a reality.

Over the last ten years, Harry Potter has taught me about life and growing up. Dumbledore lectured me on the significance of morality and empathy, as well as the importance of humanity. Harry Potter showed me the power and strength of sticking to your beliefs, especially in the face of adversity. Ron and Hermione taught me the sincere virtue in forgiveness. The characters showed me that every decision comes with consequence, good or bad. Perhaps this sounds silly but, after dozens of book readings and re-readings, I've noticed that I have unconsciously taken these lessons and subtly applied them to my own life.

As the release of the last movie approaches, it marks the end of an era for me. There will be no more Harry Potter books or movies. No midnight release dates to look forward to. The last movie, in some ways, marks the end of my childhood. After July 15th, I will slowly become an adult in my own eyes—the last ties to my childhood will have been cut.

JK Rowling, if you only knew the profound and positive effect you've had on my life. Like Harry with his lightning bolt scar, you, too, have left a permanent mark on me.

While the release of the last movie looms ever closer, I wanted to bring to life various Harry Potter treats from the series. Over the next few days, you can expect to see more Harry Potter snacks and drinks (can we say butterbeer?) as I celebrate the end of a great era. Whether you are hosting your own Harry Potter party, or simply want a sweet treat to celebrate the release of the movie, these Harry Potter snacks are for you. Many of these treat ideas can also be applied to birthday or Halloween parties.

Today's menu: sweets from Honeydukes and the Hogwarts Express food trolley.

"Fred gave me one when I was seven, it burnt a hole right through my tongue. I can remember Mum walloping him with her broomstick." —Ron Weasley

These acid pops make a sweet and unexpected treat for adults and children alike. Sour lollipops are coated in a thin layer of honey and covered in pop rocks. While these won't burn a hole through your tongue, the pop rocks provide an unexpected twist on the traditional lollipop making them twice as fun to eat. The popping and crackling inside your mouth is really something to be experienced. These are also a fun treat for birthday parties.

Acid Pops
Adapted from The Leaky Cauldron

12 lollipops (I recommend using sour ones—these are acid pops!)
3-4 packages pop rocks (any flavor of your choosing)
1/4 cup honey

Unwrap the lollipops. Place the pop rocks into a shallow bowl.

Place the honey in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. The hotter the honey is, the thinner the consistency of the honey will become (and we want thin honey!). Coat the lollipops in the honey and roll in the pop rocks. If the honey thickens, heat it up again. Set the lollipops on wax paper until dry.

Assemble these as closely as possible to the serving time as the pop rocks will absorb some of the moisture in the honey and lose some of their "pop."

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Ron Weasley once thought he could fool Fred into eating a cockroach cluster if he told him they were peanuts. Cockroach clusters supposedly contain real cockroaches, making them taste as gross as they sound.

These Cockroach Clusters, on the other hand, are tasty little bite-sized cookies. Dry chow mein noodles are covered in a layer of chocolate and butterscotch—this combination may sound strange, but is delicious! These cookies are very similar to the chocolate nests I made for spring. These cookies are very easy to form into a cockroach or bug shape if you are feeling creative, or you can simply make small clusters and pretend the chow mein noodles are spindly cockroach legs. Also a fun cookie idea for Halloween!

Cockroach Clusters

Yields 12 clusters

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cup dry chow mein noodles

Heat up the chocolate and butterscotch chips in a double boiler (or microwave) and stir until smooth. Mix in the dry chow mein noodles until evenly coated.

On a baking sheet covered in wax paper, drop a spoonful of noodles to form small clusters. Let cool completely and store clusters in an airtight container at room temperature.

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On the 1st of September, when riding the Hogwarts express for the first time, Harry Potter bought every sweet available from the food trolley (including Licorice Wands) because he had never had wizard sweets before and wanted to try everything he could. And really, could you blame him?

These licorice wands are just fun. Licorice twists are partially covered in a vanilla candy coating to form the handle and sprinkled with, well, sprinkles. Even though these wands are a little floppy (especially if your licorice is fresh), it doesn't change the fact that you can still cast spells with a quick flick of your wrist. Finally a food you are supposed to play with!

Licorice Wands
Adapted from Betty Crocker

6 ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating (or white chocolate)
24 licorice twists (any flavor)

Melt the candy coating in a small bowl. Coat 1/3 to 1/2 of the licorice twists in the candy coating (I filled a tall, 2 ounce shot glass with the candy coating which made it much easier to dip the licorice twists and get a clean edge). Sprinkle with sprinkles and place licorice twists onto wax paper to dry for at least 1 hour to set the coating.

What Harry Potter snack list would be complete with chocolate frogs? Chocolate Frogs are a popular treat sold throughout the Wizarding world. Each chocolate frog acts like a real frog, thanks to magic, hopping around and generally causing a bit of mischief. Each frog is packaged with a collectible card of famous witches and wizards, which many students collect and swap.

These chocolate frogs are more like bite-sized chocolates than the "real" chocolate frogs, but if you are hosting a party, this size is perfect for your guests. I found my frog mold at a local cake decorating store. If you can't find one there, the internet is always an option.

Chocolate Frogs
Tempered chocolate, melted
Frog chocolate mold

Fill an ungreased chocolate mold with melted chocolate. Hit mold against hard surface several times to level out the chocolate and rid the chocolates of air bubbles. Freeze chocolate for 3-5 minutes (if you leave them in longer, the chocolate will lose its glossy sheen). Remove from freezer, flip over mold, and hit it against a clean surface until chocolates fall out.