A recent story in Gizmodo detailed the strange origins of several popular American junk foods, including the happy accidents we now affectionately call Pop Rocks. Apparently in the ‘50s, famed food chemist William Mitchell had attempted to create a carbonated drink powder when some fell in his mouth and “exploded” upon meeting his saliva. Two decades and a bit of marketing wizardry later (since no one really knew how to sell “exploding candy” to kids), Pop Rocks finally hit the shelves in 1976 as a gag gift, paving the way for future generations to messily lick our sticky fizzing fingers and experience the visceral joy of feeling things go “pop” in our mouths. (Just take it from this baby.)
This Fourth of July, why not relive some of that childhood wonder you felt the first time you saw fireworks by whipping up one of these Pop Rocks-inspired recipes? Face it, Independence Day was so much more fun as a kid. Luckily Pop Rocks taste just like that.
Layered Patriotic Punch
Science says that liquids with higher sugar contents will sit beneath those with lower, so grab some diet Sierra Mist, low calorie Gatorade and Hawaiian Punch to whip up a batch of this refreshing spangly drink.
Recipe: Our Best Bites
Mini-Strawberry Shortcake Poppers
Bite sized snacks are the perfect party fodder to begin with, but with a special surprise twist, popping these in our mouths suddenly became a lot more fun.
Recipe: Snappy Gourmet
For those who don’t remember, the blue raspberry flavored Pop Rocks were actually more of a green color, so this recipe calls for some dyeing, but don’t worry: the dye won’t make the rocks pop prematurely. At least not too much.
Recipe: Not Your Momma’s Cookie
Inspired by Harry Potter, these sour, honey and Pop Rocks-coated lollipops are a definite surprise, but also won’t burn any holes in your tongue.
Recipe: A Pastry Affair
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
Most summer drinks can feel too sweet or flat, but after a healthy dose of club soda and pop rocks, you’ll never want to go back to boring old strawberry lemonade again.
Recipe: Gimme Some Oven
Another sweet staple transformed by mixing in strawberry Pop Rocks into the crunchy crumble topping.
Recipe: Raspberri Cupcakes
Admittedly, the blue featured here is just regular old sprinkles, but several other recipes (with unfortunately less pretty pictures) swap out the sugar crystals with Pop Rocks.
Recipe: Our Best Bites
Pop-Star Cookie Pops
Get it? Puns aside, these adorable cookie pops are a lot simpler than they look. Just sandwich a bit of vanilla icing between two star cut-out sugar cookies and print out the label templates. Get on with your bad Pinterest-y self.
Recipe: The Decorated Cookie
Blueberry vodka, grenadine and lemon lime soda make this bubbly grown-up drink perfect for entertaining.
Recipe: BB A La Carte
Pop Rocks Brownie Bites
This nifty hack pairs blue sprinkles with red Pop Rocks on top of store-bought miniature brownie bites. A quick fix and an easy way to give your kids (or yourself) something to do with your hands.
Recipe: Recipe Girl
Chocolate Pop Rock Potato Chips
Bear with us, this combination might sound crazy, but salt and chocolate are always good together and the pop from the candy just helps accentuate the crunch of the chips.
Recipe: Lisa Trifiro
Strawberry Ice Cream with White Chocolate Coated Pop Rocks
There’s little that doesn’t go with ice cream, so why not put Pop Rocks in it? More importantly, why haven’t you yet?
Exploding Banana Split Ice Cream
Quite possibly the most exciting thing on this list, this recipe combines all the great flavors of banana splits, from the peanut flavored ice cream cone to the banana ice cream to the chocolate-covered pop rocks. BOOM.
Recipe: Breaking Bread Blog
Chocolate Pop Rocks Rice Krispies Treats
The thing about Rice Krispies treats is that they only really pop in milk, but with the help of some unflavored “Pastry Rocks”, you can have a popping party in your mouth any time. And you can do it sober.
Recipe: Cupcake Project
Lots of sugar here, but with a plainer cookie, the sweetness from the frosting and Pop Rocks won’t be too overbearing.
Recipe: Like Mother, Like Daughter
Summer’s heat and everyone’s dieting make watermelons the unequivocal queens of the season, so why not freshen up with some watermelon vodka?
Recipe: Snappy Gourmet
Pop Rocks Truffles
If you’re looking for something a little less fruity, Pop Rocks truffles are perfect — but be warned: This recipe is not for anyone who doesn’t like to smile. Once you take a bite, you can’t help it.
Recipe: Love and Olive Oil
4th of July Ice Cream Sandwiches, Complete with Fireworks
A quicker alternative could be just to coat your regular ice cream sandwiches with Pop Rocks, but where’s the fun (and the ‘MURICA) in that?
Champagne Jello Shots with Pop Rocks
Another tricky sugar crystal – Pop Rocks substitute, but champagne jello shots are the perfect way to bring the festivity of the New Year into summer. Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!
Recipe: 3 City Girls NYC
Pop Rocks Mousse
Even though this looks a little too twee for our tastes, it was also way too cute for us not to include it. Mousse is made with white chocolate, sugar and egg whites. Bows and mason jars optional.
Recipe: 1 Fine Cookie
Pop Rocks Ice Cream Float
Are you a fan of simple desserts? Perfect, because all you need to do for this one is know how to pour. It’d be almost impossible to mess this one up, but we’d also love to see you try.
Recipe: Liv Life Too
Be careful doing this with kids because you wouldn’t want them confusing these cakelettes with the actual fireworks or vice versa. But if your drunken friends get a hold of them, you can’t say you didn’t warn them.
Recipe: She Knows
Poppin’ Patriotic Marshmallow Pops
“An edible fireworks show,” the only thing that would make this treat better would be melting it between two graham crackers and chocolate. Mmm, Pop Rocks s’mores.
Recipe: A Farmgirl’s Drabbles