buttered popcorn butterscotch cookies

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Let’s all just stop for a moment and take a deep breath. Now exhale. Maybe I speak just for myself, but I’m pretty sure everybody needed that.

Now we can talk about cookies. We like cookies around here. But they don’t happen very often. Luckily for us, my friend Marilen coordinates a quarterly cookie swap with a handful of the girls in the office. And so this week we have cookies.

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Because it’s so close to Halloween, I wanted to do a really fun, lighthearted cookie. Yes, I did just say that. Let me explain. I feel like there is a cookie fit for every occasion. In my mind, anything with dark chocolate or really good cocoa powder is more suitable for a grown-up gathering, rather than a bunch of kiddos. And macarons are perfect for something fancy, like a tea party or a bridal shower. And a good ole chocolate chip cookie is the right cookie for anyone that needs some comforting. I really spend a lot of time thinking about this kind of stuff. What can I say? This is straight from the mind of a crazy person.

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Anyway, I remembered a buttered popcorn cookie I had seen while flipping through The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook a few weeks back and I knew I was onto something. But I felt like it needed a little something to really make it pop. At first I thought bittersweet chocolate. Then white chocolate crossed my mind for a split second, though I’m not such a fan of white chocolate. And then it occurred to me – buttered popcorn + butterscotch chips = fun and delish (fundelicious!). I was certain I had found the winning combination.

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You guys, this is a really good cookie. It’s the first popcorn cookie I’ve ever had – popcorn in a cookie is mind blowing stuff. These cookies are strangely addictive. Some pieces of popcorn are crisp while others get a little soft, but in a good way. Kind of like those slightly stale bricks of Wright’s Pink Popcorn that I absolutely adore. Buttered popcorn, combined with sweet butterscotch chips in a buttery cookie dough; I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s like sweet, magical buttery butteriness. And there you go.

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buttered popcorn butterscotch cookies 

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

makes 24 cookies

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

1/4 cup popcorn kernels 

1/4 kosher teaspoon salt 

1 tablespoon butter, melted 

1/2 cup butter, softened 

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

*alternately, you can substitute the first 4 ingredients with 4-1/2 cups popped microwave popcorn 

Pour the oil over the bottom of a large saucepan that had a lid. Add the popcorn kernels, shaking the pan around so the kernels arein one layer. Cover the pot and heat it over medium-high heat. Once the kernels start to  pop, keep the sauce pan moving until all the kernels have popped and you no longer hear popping, about 5 to 7 minutes total. Pour the melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt over the popcorn and toss. Transfer the popcorn to a bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. You should have 4 to 4-1/2 cups popcorn. Let cool.

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg,  and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold the butterscotch chips and popcorn into the batter until it is evenly distributed throughout. Don’t worry if the popcorn breaks up a bit.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes to firm up before transferring them to a rack to cool.

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momofuku’s compost cookie

Ever have one of those days when everything you attempt in the kitchen ends in disaster? I had forgotten what that felt like. And then I remembered. It was a Saturday and I had two items on my agenda for the day: a) Momofuku’s compost cookies and b) passion fruit curd. The passion fruit curd had to be sent to the trash while the cookies remained on the sheet pan for a long time, looking sad. It was that kind of Saturday.

To make a long story short, I burned the curd. I was super bummed out because it was supposed to accompany me to brunch the following morning, and also because juicing passion fruit is sort of a joke; one fruit yields approximately two large drops of juice. I think I felt even more defeated because curd is so easy to make, it just wasn’t in the cards that day.

But I was most upset about the cookies, or the cookie blob rather. I think one of the saddest feelings is opening the oven, only to discover that your perfect mounds of cookie dough have melted into one large mass of cookie. I tried to cut the sheet of cookie into squares, but that didn’t really work out. We ate it anyway, but I just couldn’t get over it. I needed a do-over.

Since I haven’t been back to New York in a few years, I haven’t been to Momofuku Milk Bar. But I’ve been drooling over the Momofuku cookbook for months now. And everyone on the internet has been talking about these cookies. I like cookies, but there are few cookies that do it for me. I needed to know if these cookies were really worth all the buzz they’ve generated.

Let me just say, for the record, that they are. They are also worth the half pound of butter and the two hours lost during the disaster that was the first batch. They are worth the time you spend baking only three cookies at a time so that you don’t end up with another cookie puddle. And they are most definitely worth the pounds you will potentially gain when you make these cookies because you won’t be able to stop eating them.

This cookie is everything. EVERYTHING. It’s chewy and soft and a little bit crispy. It’s playful but still sophisticated. It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. And it’s buttery and slightly caramelized around the edges, two of my favorite cookie qualities. I love that every bite is a little bit of a surprise; sometimes you get a hunk of pretzel, sometimes a burst of coffee. It’s basically all of the snacks you love baked into one perfect package, coffee included. I totally get it.

momofuku’s compost cookie

adapted from Christina Tosi’s recipe courtesy of Live! with Regis and Kelly

makes 15-20 large cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1-1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (I used a combination of bitter-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and rolled oats)

1-1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc) (I used potato chips and pretzels)

1 tablespoon ground coffee beans (optional)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

With the mixer on low speed, add your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30-45 seconds until they evenly distributed throughout the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, mixing on low speed until they are just incorporated.

Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.

Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week.

DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

Heat the conventional oven to 400°F. (350°F in a convection oven)

When the oven reads 400°F, arrange your chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or silpat-lined sheetpan a minimum of 4 inches apart in any direction.

Bake 9-11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.

At 9 minutes the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don’t match up and your cookies stills seem pale and doughy on the surface.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh 5 days. In the freezer, cookies will keep fresh 1 month.