I’ve been reading the Smitten Kitchen blog for ages and the recipes are always amazing, so when I needed a quick and easy dessert for a Thanksgiving feast at my daughter’s preschool, I knew where to go. I wanted to avoid anything messy, or that required utensils, so it was going to be cookies. No nuts allowed, and I knew chocolate would smear– plus, I wanted something vaguely seasonal for the Thanksgiving event.
I remembered reading once about popcorn cookies (they had popcorn at Thanksgiving, right? I think I read that somewhere), and a quick search proved me right and turned up this cookie, which baked up chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty all at once!
Buttered Popcorn Cookies (from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups popped popcorn, buttered and salted
- kosher salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light.
3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda, then stir the combined dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
5. Fold in the popcorn so that it is evenly distributed through the dough. There will be a lot of popcorn compared to the amount of dough, but don’t worry, it’ll hold together.
6. Scoop a slightly-heaped tablespoon of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches space in between cookies. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden-brown around the edges.
8. Cool on the pans for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Do not use kosher salt to salt your popcorn– there’s a reason they sell extra-fine “popcorn salt.” Kosher salt grains are just too big to properly season popcorn, though they do work fine to top the cookie itself.
- Using a slightly heaped tablespoon makes for some rather small cookies. I got just about two dozen from my batch, which was fine for my purposes but I think most people might want larger cookies (which would mean correspondingly fewer). Next time I make these, I’ll double the batch and make larger cookies.
- Also, the cookies didn’t spread all that much while baking– not nearly enough to justify the 2″ space between dough scoops. If you’re making the small size, feel free to reduce that space a little.
- Unlike most cookies, these are not at their best fresh from the oven. The popcorn gets all soft and chewy from the heat and it sticks in your teeth. Plus, the cookie itself is too soft to properly stand up to the popcorn in texture when it’s still hot. They’re much better when fully cooled, though the popcorn still sticks in your teeth a bit.
- Overall I enjoyed these, though I wish I’d had more of a caramel flavor (next time I’ll use dark brown sugar). I can also see these being excellent with honey-roasted salted peanuts added in for extra crunch and salt.