One of the things I love most about Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is that she can convince me to eat almost anything. Sometime I will read the title of one of her recipes and it won’t necessarily thrill me, simply as a matter of taste preference. That said, I will ALWAYS read what she has to say about it because I want to find out if she can convince me to try it. She usually succeeds.
In her cookbook, for example, she has a recipe for buttered popcorn cookies. I saw them, thought they were definitely cute and would be edible, but I would much rather put most other things in a cookie before buttered popcorn; I’m just not a huge fan of the stuff. But, of course I had to read what she had to say about them, and she went on to describe how she designed these cookies as a way to get one of her friends to like buttered popcorn. In describing her friend’s dislike for buttered popcorn, she was essentially describing me – our hatred for the kernels getting stuck in our teeth (for me the taste is just not worth the trouble), and how so often the butter flavor tastes so fake and disgusting at movie theaters, and how we would much prefer caramel or cheddar popcorn.
Deb decided to put the buttered popcorn in a cookie. It’s like the dessert version of frying something – people will like just about anything if you envelope it in a delicious, buttery cookie package. So, she convinced me. I would try it out, and I did.
I DID like the cookies. Popcorn popped at home and dressed with real melted butter and salt is way better than what you would get at the movies or from a microwavable bag, and the salty-sweet combo created from the juxtaposition of the salted popcorn with the sweet cookie was right up my alley.
BUT. I thought to myself about how it was good, but I’d probably like it much more with kettle corn. And you know what? I actually like kettle corn best when it’s eaten with chocolate (duh). And that’s how this cookie was born.
I developed my deep affection for kettle corn at Hersheypark. I would buy a fresh, warm bag of kettle corn by the front of the park, and then swing over to one of the gift shops to buy a bag of Hershey’s miniatures. These two items had to be enjoyed together. My favorite ratio was half of a miniature with 2-3 kernels of popcorn. I’d pop the chocolate in my mouth and let it melt for a few seconds before adding the popcorn. After a long day at the park, my favorite thing to do was sit and watch TV or read a good book while chowing down on this snack (if there were any leftovers). How was I not fat?
With these cookies I highly recommend using miniature chocolate chips so they don’t overwhelm the popcorn and are more evenly distributed. They start to go downhill in terms of freshness after 1-2 days, so eat them quickly! Take them to work or share with friends.
- ½ cup // 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup // 95 g packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup // 65 g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups // 155 g all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
- 4 cups kettle corn (I prefer the Indiana Popcorn Co. Kettle Corn)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth, light and fluffy. With my Kitchenaid, I bumped it up to power level 4.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Dump in the popcorn and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula. This will take a bit of patience. It's okay if the popcorn breaks into pieces somewhat, but try not to destroy it. It will look like there is too much popcorn, but just go with it; it will work out.
- On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, drop heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of dough, keeping them 1-2 inches apart.
- Bake them for 9-12 minutes, until they are just starting to brown on the edges. Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a wire rack. They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.