March 6, 2014

Caramel Corn Cookies

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I'm seemingly incapable of baking anything but cookies recently. 

I'm also seemingly incapable of making food that sounds good right off the bat.  You know those carrot cake cookies?  Well, I already told you how hesitant my family was about those.

It was like they were on repeat.
"Caramel corn in cookies?  Seriously?"
(In all seriousness, my family is incredibly supportive, BUT, they are not adventurous foodies, so my cooking/baking stretches them.  A lot.)

I didn't come up with this idea on my own.  My pastor had mentioned (among other things - I do listen to sermons) that he had tried kettle corn cookies from Trader Joe's one time and that he hadn't found them again.
I thought that was a really good idea!  We have a tub FULL of popcorn.  You know the ones you get for Christmas from companies you support or supported 20 years ago that still send you those giant metal black holes packed to the brim with popcorn?  I used caramel corn from that.  I wonder what real kettle corn would taste like in cookies ... wow, fair food to the next level!  Anyways, back to the caramel corn.  I personally love caramel corn.  It is one of my favorite treats.  Mainly because there is more caramel than popcorn, but I convince myself it is okay because corn is a vegetable.  Vegetables covered in sugar - that is so the way I roll.
So, even though I have been sitting in my cookie loaded corner, shunning the real world of creativity, I 'm thinking I should stick to cookies because the last three or four batches I've made have received rave reviews.  That is not the norm, hence the lack of cookie recipes on this blog (I'm partial to brownies and muffins  and no bake energy bites ;)
Even if he doesn't like a lot of foods, my Dad is pretty game to try most anything, and he really liked these.  In fact, he said he was going to go buy another bag (NOT a tub, thank goodness) of caramel popcorn so we could make these again.
Guess what is sitting in our pantry right now. 

According to my testing panel (and it does consist of a hefty 5-6 people) these tasted like caramel corn, but it was hard to identify.  Like, they said it was kind of like toffee, kind of like caramel bits, but not all the way one or the other.  I think that is because the caramel coating on the popcorn melts into the cookie (which sounds pretty awesome to me) and the popcorn softens while baking, so there aren't traditional crunches of popcorn in your cookie.  The popcorn adds a little chewiness and a little saltiness, which pairs with the sweet and brown sugary cookie base beautifully. 
So, maybe you aren't a popcorn-in-your-cookie person.  None of my family was either.  But thanks to a never fail cookie base and caramel coated popcorn, these won the hearts of everyone who tried them. 
Plus, they have shock appeal and I love foods with shock appeal :)

Caramel Corn Cookies
Recipe Source: The Sweet {Tooth} Life
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 -1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup caramel corn, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until combined.
Add eggs; beat well.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and cornstarch.  Stir until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
Fold in caramel corn.
Scoop into one tablespoon balls of dough and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes.
Let cool.

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