Wednesday, January 29, 2014

caramel popcorn

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.

i have been eyeing homemade caramel popcorn for the longest time. i think i've had these down for the little kiddies birthday party 2 years ago but never really got around to it. well, i finally made some a couple of weeks ago for m's birthday party. and i have to say, they are so easy to make! why have i not just done it then? i don't know... but what i do know is, once you've got the caramel made (you'll need a candy thermometer for this), the rest is easy peasy. and besides, who says you have to use the popcorn kernels and not regular microwavable popcorn? i just went ahead with the classic microwavable bags of popcorn (because you can't beat an easy cleanup) and these sweet treats still turned out delicious. plus, doing the whole popcorn kernel thing with oil in a pot is just too much work! oh, and this recipe uses apple juice so it's even better. it gives you a nice hint of apple flavor which you cannot beat. and for sure a great way to use up those half gallons or whatever size of apple juice bottle that's been sitting in our fridge for days and days (maybe weeks even?) – because we can't drink it all!

alright, the recipe for this caramel popcorn is below if you'd like to make some yourself. i say go ahead because it's really that good. you'll literally eat half of it in one sitting if you don't stop yourself already. hahaha... that's what m and i did the night i made these. we had to remove ourselves away from the sheet pan while these goodies rest.

okay, enjoy! :)

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
this recipe is super easy to make. i never thought it was this simple!

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
simply made paper cones are a great way to distribute these sticky but super yummy treats. who says you can't have a bouquet of caramel popcorn?

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
make these sweet stuff for your next birthday party or any occasion. they'll sure to be a hit. these definitely were for m's birthday party.

caramel popcorn
recipe adapted from the food network

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup popcorn kernels (or you can use two bags of microwave popcorn and omit the oil above)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • kosher salt

  1. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silpat will do too). if using popcorn kernels, heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat. add the popcorn kernels; cover and cook, shaking the pan, until the popping subsides. remove from the heat and let any remaining kernels pop for 30 more seconds. if using microwave popcorn bags, follow the directions on the package. once popcorns are popped, divide the popcorn between the prepared baking sheets, discarding any unpopped kernels.
  2. make the caramel: bring the apple juice, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. cook without stirring until the mixture is deep amber and a candy thermometer registers 280 degrees F, about 30 minutes (the caramel will bubble vigorously toward the end of the cooking time).
  3. stir the butter into the caramel until melted. add 2 teaspoons salt and cook for another minute. remove from the heat. pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture and carefully toss with two rubber spatulas. let cool slightly, then separate the mixture into clusters while still warm. let cool completely.

note: i actually pour all my popcorn into a large bowl instead of putting them on the baking sheets. once the caramel was made, i pour those over the popcorn and tossed them while still in the bowl (kind of like making rice krispy treats). but the above method works too. i guess you can pick whichever is easiest. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramel-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.

happy new year! yes, it took a whole 20 days after the new year for this post. i've been busy and lazy (yes, both at the same time) therefore that's why i haven't posted any new recipes or any entries here. plus, i haven't been baking a whole lot. haven't had the effort or energy to since the holidays. and also the fact that i've been trying to cut down on my sweets intake. decided that if i didn't bake, i wouldn't have any around. the only things i've made so far are some macaron cookie samples (testing out shell colors for a baby shower – post and recipe to come later) and your classic, chocolate chip cookies. i made some a few weeks ago. anyway, i've made some again, except for this time i decided i would try to use up those bourbon-sea salt caramels i made during the holidays. yeah, we didn't really eat all that caramel. it was a lot. plus, they didn't quite hold at room temperature. maybe i took them off the heat too quickly or who knows what. but anyway, i still got some pretty tasty caramels out of it.

alright, below's the recipe for these delicious-looking chocolate chip cookies. i made these goodies over the weekend for m's birthday party. and yes, it was a hit with all the cookie and non-cookie lovers. i've been limiting my sweets intake and i couldn't help it. i ate at least 1-1/2 cookies in one sitting. i had to stop myself. so if you're up to baking some cookies or changing up that good ol' chocolate chip cookie recipe a bit, add in some of these bourbon-sea salt caramels (or any soft caramels) to that recipe for a brand new cookie!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.
how can you not dig in and eat at least one, if not two, or three or four of these deliciously caramel filled cookies in one sitting? they are ooey gooey good, especially right out of the oven and cooled slightly.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.
i love how the caramel makes an appearance once they're baked. depending on how you cover up the caramel with the cookie dough, you'll get some like this and some all covered up. you won't see the caramel until you break into it, a really nice surprise.

bourbon-sea salt caramel-filled chocolate chip cookies

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 oz (or 1 bag) chocolate chips, any kind is fine
  • 18-24 pieces of bourbon-sea salt caramel or any soft caramel of your choice

  1. preheat oven to 350°F. line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheet.
  2. cream softened butter (or melt butter in microwave safe bowl) and sugar together. then add in the egg. once mixed, add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. mix until incorporated, then add in the chocolate chips.
  3. scoop out a tablespoon portion (ball-like) and make an indent in the middle and place (or push in) the soft caramel. then spoon out a little bit more dough and cover the caramel. shape the cookie dough into a ball and place it onto the baking sheet. make sure to spread them out at least 2 to 3 inches apart. these cookies will spread so you may just want to put 9 cookies on a sheet versus say a typical 12.
  4. bake for 10-12 minutes until golden but still soft in the center (baking time varies depending on how chewy or crunchy you like your cookies). let the cookies cool down a little bit on the cookie sheet before transfering them onto a cooling rack. after a few minutes, they're ready to eat! best eaten warm when the caramel is still gooey. yum. enjoy. :)

makes 18-24 large cookies. enjoy! :)

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