Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Finding the right cookie to have in the never-let-it-get-empty cookie jar is a challenge. We are soooooo not talking about store bought suff here.
For some families the “must have it” cookie is the giant chocolate chip, others are all about snicker doodles. Still others, dare I say it, health conscious individuals feel that the oatmeal raisin is the only way to go. But no matter what your family favorite is, it’s always nice to have a few extra treats to serve to the family and friends that are bound to come over.
The following recipes are all kid-friendly and have one extra special ingredient: POPCORN. Not your typical “make a cookie” ingredient but one that’s guaranteed to have your kids and their friends stuffing a few extra helpings into their back pockets for the trip home.
POPCORN COOKIES (dairy or pareve)
2 to 2 ½ dozen, depending on the size of the cookie
1 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups popped popcorn, slightly crushed 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside (you can use parchment paper instead if you prefer).
In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Stir in the flour mixture just until mixed.
By hand, fold in the popcorn, chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (about 2 inches apart) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks and cool to room temperature.
Store in an air tight container.
Modified from about.com.
POPPED CASHEW BRITTLE (dairy)
6 cups popped butter or regular flavored popcorn 1 cup M&M’S 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 1 stick unsalted butter (you can use salted, but unsalted tastes better in this recipe) 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup salted cashews 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Spread the popcorn evenly in a 15×10 cookie sheet with sides. Add the M&M’s and mix to combine. Set aside.
In a sauce pan combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly (use a wooden spoon). Add the cashews. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture burn.
Remove the caramel mixture from the heat and stir in the baking soda, mix to combine. As soon as the baking soda is totally mixed in pour the caramel mixture over the popped corn and M&M’s and mix gently until coated. (Be careful: This stuff is hot and if you get it on your hands it will burn!)
Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes or so until it’s hardened. Break it into pieces and serve.
My files, source unknown.
POPCORN TURTLES (dairy)
11 cups popped buttered microwave popcorn vegetable cooking spray pecan halves (72 pecan halves) 1 bag (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped 2 tablespoons margarine 2 tablespoons milk 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Spray 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange 24 groups of three pecan halves in flower patterns on baking sheet. In a microwavable bowl combine the caramels, margarine and milk and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once or twice. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. Cool 2 to 3 minutes.
Spray your hands with the cooking spray because this stuff is sticky. Grab a handful of the coated popcorn and shape it into a 1-inch ball and then flatten it slightly. Press the round onto center of each pecan grouping.
When you’ve made all 24 of the popcorn turtles put the chocolate into another microwave bowl and microwave for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until the chocolate is melted. Still it, then drizzle it over the top of the popcorn balls. Let cool for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Submitted by Randi Madison of Cleveland, OH. Modified from the Orville Redenbacher web page.
COOKIES AND CREAM POPCORN (dairy or pareve)
10 – 12
8 to 10 cups popcorn
16 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped up pretty fine but not crushed (I use Oreo’s) 9 ounces white or dark chocolate 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
In a large bowl combine the popcorn with the chopped cookies and set it aside. In a microwave bowl melt the white chocolate until smooth. Pour it over the popcorn and cookies and toss gently.
Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and sprinkle the top with the sprinkles. Mix gently so the sprinkles get everywhere. Let cool for at least an hour while the chocolate sets.
My files, source unknown.
CHUNKY CARAMEL POPCORN (dairy)
(you can omit the white chocolate)
10 to 12 cups popped popcorn
1 (9.75-ounce) can (2 cups) whole cashews 1 (5-ounce) bag (1 1/2 cups) pecan halves 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 3/4 cup butter or margarine 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon baking soda
DRIZZLE: 2 cups kosher mini marshmallows 1 cup dark chocolate chips 1 1/2 teaspoons shortening 1/2 cup white baking chips
Preheat oven to 250.
In a large roasting pan combine the popcorn, cashews and pecans and set it aside. In a sauce pan combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil (7 to 8 minutes). Continue boiling 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda.
Pour the hot mixture over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and spread the mixture onto waxed paper or parchment paper on sided cookie sheets. Cool completely. This mixture will be in large pieces, don’t break it up.
In a microwave bowl combine the chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon margarine or butter. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave for another 30 seconds or until smooth. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over the top of the mixture then drizzle the melted chocolate over popcorn mixture. Repeat this process with the white chocolate chips and remaining margarine or butter.
Let the popcorn mixture cool until the chocolate and white chocolate are hard then break it into pieces.
Modified from a Land O’ Lakes recipe.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.