Buttered Popcorn Cookies

This is basically going to be a fangirl post followed by a recipe.  You’ve been warned.  If you don’t like carbs or cookbooks…well, then I’m not sure why you’re here but maybe I can convert you because these cookies are FUN!

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But first, the cookbook!  I’ve been a fan of smitten kitchen for a long time.  It’s easily my favorite food blog and Deb’s recipes never fail.  Her Buttermilk Roast Chicken and Mom’s Apple Cake are comfort food staples at my house.  When I heard she had a cookbook coming out I was thrilled and I have no idea what took me so long to get my hands on it.  As it turns out I ended up receiving two copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for Christmas and it has been everything I hoped it would be.  Great photography, delicious recipes, adorable anecdotes…absolutely classic.  I foresee myself cooking from this book for years to come.

 

This popcorn cookie recipe was very intriguing to me.  I had never even considered putting popcorn in cookies before and honestly only made this recipe because I thought my kids would like and it seemed über simple.  As it turns out, not only was it über simple but it was addictive; a fabulous combination of salty and sweet.  The flavor is similar to caramel corn but without the cloying sweetness that can sometimes have.  Add to that the chewiness of cookie mixed with the crunch of popcorn and it’s just perfection.

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Make this happen for yourself.  You will not regret it.

Smitten Kitchen Buttered Popcorn Cookies

2 Tbs oil

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

1/4 tsp table salt

1 Tbs butter – melted

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter – softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

Make the popcorn: Pour the oil in the bottom of a large saucepan (with lid) and add the popcorn kernels.  Shake the pan around so the kernels land in a single layer over the bottom of the pan.  Cover the pot, heat over medium-high heat and once the kernels start popping keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped.  Toss the table salt and melted butter over the popcorn.  You may want to transfer the popcorn to another bowl so you can fish out any unpopped kernels.  You should have about 4 to 4 1/2 cups of popcorn.

Mix the dough: Preheat your oven to 350.  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 and baking soda.  Stir the combined dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture.  Fold in the popcorn so it’s evenly distributed throughout the batter.  This will seem impossible at first because the batter to popcorn ratio is crazy but I promise, it works.  Just keep at it for a minute or two and don’t worry about some of the popcorn breaking up.  It all turns out great in the end.

Bake the cookies:  Scoop heaping tablespoon sized mounds 2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  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 cooling rack.

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The Happiest Place On Earth…

…is not where you think it is.  There are no friendly mice or glamorous princesses.  Well, there might be ONE princess but she prefers neons and animal prints over pink and poufy any day.  If you’re wondering about the prince, he’s there too.  He loves legos and hex bugs and mine craft.  The queen is a stunning zumba/barbell/step-aeorbics instructor who rules firmly but fairly in the magical kingdom of Newsouri.

(It should be noted that Newsouri is, in fact, Missouri in kid-speak.)

My son, Max, is nearly five years old and he makes sure to tell me daily that he plans to run away to Newsouri in order to escape my tyranny.  I didn’t know it at first but it seems that I’m actually the evil queen in this situation.  Ruling with an iron fist and unreasonable demands like:

“Please tidy up your bed.”

“Go put your shoes in your shoe basket”

“You need to flush the toilet EVERY time you use it.”

and the worst of them all… “No, you may not have cookies before breakfast.”

I know.  You’re wondering what kind of monster I am or how I manage to live with myself issuing orders such as these.  Quite frankly, I’m beginning to wonder too.  Especially in light of his constant threats to move to his Auntie’s house…in Newsouri.

Moving to Newsouri is his solution to everything.  Don’t want to eat what I cooked for dinner?  Move to Newsouri!  Get in trouble for hitting your brother?  Run away!  To Newsouri!  Hate cleaning up after yourself?  Max says that in Newsouri, you NEVER have to clean up your toys. So you should definitely go there.  (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that these rules would be news to all the children who currently reside in the grand state of Newsouri.)

At first, I was sympathetic to these outbursts and threats.  I know it’s a sort of phase.  He’s testing, pushing our buttons, experimenting with threats and ultimatums.  I remember doing this as a kid too.  There was always somewhere that I was just certain wouldn’t have such awful rules about behaving and cleaning up after yourself.  So I get it.  I really do.  But I’m also OVER IT.  My kid has threatened to relocate to Newsouri so many times that I’ve barely stopped short of telling him to just fucking do it already.  As it stands, I’ve started to talk him through the logistics of moving out-of-state.  I tell him that Daddy and I would be heartbroken to see him go but if he really thinks it’s the best thing to do then he’d better prepare properly.  I remind him that Newsouri is really far away and well, he can’t drive yet so he’s going to have to walk and it’s literally going to take him several days to get from our house to his Auntie’s.  Also, those legos that he doesn’t want to clean up?  Yeah, he can’t really take those with him because they won’t all fit in his backpack and I’m not entirely sure that he could carry them while walking that far.  And I’m not really sure how he would eat while he was traveling because he doesn’t have much money to buy food with and I’m not sure that he knows where all the restaurants are.  So many details!  Who knew?!  His solution, of course, is to have his Auntie and cousins come pick him up in their car.  It’s a good solution.  It would get him safely from point A to point B.  Except I’m pretty sure his Auntie isn’t in the market for a cute but bitchy five-year old right now.

Sometimes I also like to remind him of the reality of how his Auntie rules her roost.  She’s the one who taught him the phrase, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  So I’m not entirely sure where his idea of her as a permissive, lovey-dovey, everyday-is-a-party kind of Aunt came from.  The most recent example would be this conversation:

 

 

(I walked into the kitchen at 7am one day to find that Max had eaten all but one of the sugar cookies we had planned to have for their afternoon snack that day.  He was well aware that this was not ok.  I called him into the kitchen to talk about it…)

Me: Well honey, sneaking cookies before breakfast is not ok. I hope you understand that this means you will not be having a cookie for snack this afternoon.

Max: What?!  But I WANT a cookie for snack!!

Me: I know but you chose to sneak in here and eat cookies before breakfast.  Now the only cookie left is the one I had saved for Mason.  So he will still be able to eat his cookie later but you will just have to eat something different.

Max: NO!!!!!  I want to eat a cookie!!  Mason can just share his!  It’s a big cookie!

Me: I will not make Mason share his cookie.  You’ve already eaten more than your share of the cookies.  You made a choice to be sneaky and eat them this morning.  That choice has a consequence, which is that now there is no cookie for you to eat this afternoon.

Max:  That’s IT!  I’m leaving!  I’m moving to Newsourri!!  I can eat whatever cookies I want in Newsouri!

Me: (who is sick to death of hearing about Newsourri) Oh really?!  You wanna know something about Newsouri?  Your Auntie, who lives in Newsouri, DOESN’T BAKE COOKIES.  THERE ARE NO COOKIES IN NEWSOURI.  Your Auntie bakes cookies once year, at Christmas, and that’s it.  Your Auntie doesn’t even eat potatoes so I can promise you she’s not baking cookies just for fun.

Max: (looks completely shell-shocked. I think his eyes might fall out of his head.  He has never known an existence without baked goods.)  Well…I still might go!

 

 

Le sigh.  I’m at a loss.  If he were older I might seriously consider seeing if my sister would take him for a couple weeks.  A couple weeks where she just happened to need a lot of help doing projects in her house or yard.  I feel like we would both win in that situation.  Free labor for her, a little tarnishing of the Newsouri gleam for me.  But he’s four, going on five.  He’s young, if sassy, and I’m trying to get through this phase without losing my sanity.  I know his version of life in Newsouri is complete fiction, made up in his clever little head but somehow it still stings to have it thrown in my face every damn day.

I’ve started fantasizing about a preschooler version of Scared Straight; no cookies, no iPads, lots of chores, early bedtimes and someone is always using your favorite action figure. 

Until then, I’ll continue my mean mommy ways and finish each day with a visit to the bar cart.  I have a feeling there are mom’s in The Kingdom of Newsouri who do the same.