Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Movie Theatre Cookies" or Buttered Popcorn and M&M Cookies with Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel

"Movie Theatre Cookies" or Buttered Popcorn and M&M Cookies with
Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel
I think what I love about food most, is its ability to evoke childhood memories and the comfort it supplies to the people eating it. Every recipe is carefully planned and executed, and then enjoyed in the presence of your closest friends + family around a dinner table or at party. Hey, it ain't too shabby either if you decide to snuggle up in your PJ's in bed with a big bowl of hot soup during a cold winter day. Even more importantly, as kids, our brains were racing and creativity flowed out of us, and that's when we mashed things together, plopped about 20 things into a bowl, or came up with some crazy concoction that sometimes made us gag. I remember when I had just become old enough to be left at home, without a babysitter, for the afternoon or night. Those were the days I looked forward to, not because I liked being alone, but because I had the kitchen all to myself. One creation that I have never forgotten was mini M&M's on top of pizza. Like what was I thinking? That does not sound like a promising culinary future, my friends. But by far, one of my favorite flavor combinations involved a Sunday afternoon at the movie theatre. Alongside a frozen slushie, I had to have a big 'ole bag of extra buttered popcorn and a bag of M&M's. Once we all got situated in our seats, that bag of rainbow colored chocolate candies were then dumped into the popcorn bag, shaken lightly until it was completely tossed, and then devoured. The hot, buttered, + salty popcorn melted the candies ever-so-slightly, so that every little kernel had a light chocolate covering. Yum... double yum actually. Fast forward like 10 years, and now I'm developing recipes for my very own blog. Well, recently I purchased Smitten Kitchen's cookbook. If y'all don't have it, I encourage you to go out tomorrow and buy it! I love the simplicity of her recipes, as well as the culinary range she showcases. While looking through the book, I came across cookies that were loaded with popped popcorn. So friggin' brilliant. And from there, I immediately I knew I wanted to create my own inspired adaptation. I used the base of my go-to gourmet chocolate chunk cookie recipe (just slightly dumbed down and simplified) and substituted the chopped gourmet chocolates with colorful M&M's. I found Easter M&M's at the grocery store and couldn't resist the idea of girly pastel colored cookies. Deb's recipe went the all natural buttered popcorn route, where as I had (yes, had to) have the fake, over-the-top, decadently rich "movie theatre flavored" buttered popcorn. Yeah, go grab one of the microwavable bags that tells you that it contains more fake butter flavoring than the actual kernels themselves. This is the only way for me to truly bring travel back in time for the ultimate "picture show"(it's a southern saying, don't make fun) snack. I sprinkled on some of my fancy vanilla bean fleur de sel and it was sweet-and-salty cookie perfection. So, make a warm batch of these for a movie marathon at home or tuck away some of them into a plastic bag and sneak 'em into the movie theatre. I promise I won't tattle, if you don't. Deal? Deal. I loved the nostalgia of the cookies and will make them over + over again!! Enjoy :)

crispy cookie edges. extra buttery popcorn. colorful chocolate candies. fancy salt. 
For the Movie Theatre Cookies:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted
½C Granulated Sugar (I used vanilla bean sugar, but it’s up to you)
1 ¾C Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 Vanilla Bean, Split & Scraped for Seeds
2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1t Vanilla
¼t Butter Extract
1t Sea Salt
2C AP Flour
1 ½C Bread Flour (or you can substitute it for all AP Flour)
1 ½t Baking Soda
4C M&M Candies (I crushed up 1C of the candies with a rolling pin for candy bits)
6-8C Movie Theatre Buttered Popcorn (already popped, kernels removed)
Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam, then set aside.
2. In a small saute pan, melt the butter, and then set it aside to cool slightly before adding it to the mixing bowl. Cream the 2 sticks of butter & chilled melted butter with the sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla bean until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the mixer then add the two eggs and egg yolk one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Mix in the vanilla, butter extract, and sea salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the bread flour, AP Flour, and baking soda.
4. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just incorporated (don’t over mix).
5. Beat in the M&M candies until it’s completely incorporated and the chocolate is evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Lastly, lightly fold in the popped, buttered popcorn (this will take some time since the dough is quite thick and there are so many ingredients, but just keep working it in until it’s distributed throughout; it is alright if the popcorn breaks up some, but try to maintain most of its texture). Scoop the dough into medium-large balls (or I used an ice cream scoop), and then using your fingers, crimp the tops to make them more jagged (this will help them look more homemade and rustic). Because the cookies are quite large, I only put 6 cookies per sheet tray, so that when they cook & spread, they will not touch each other.
6. Sprinkle the vanilla bean fleur de sel on top of the cookie dough balls, then bake the for 10-12 minutes (cook them for 5-6 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees, and cook for another 5-6 minutes), until it is slightly golden brown on the edges, but still soft (slightly undercooked) on the inside. Leave the cookies on the sheet tray for 10 minutes, so that the cookies will finish baking.
7. Once the cookies have rested on the sheet tray, move the finished cookies to a cooling rack, and let them completely cool completely before eating.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'd like to invite you to contribute dessert recipes to my Multi-Bloggers Board: Desserts! If you might be interested, please check out this post which I just published on my blog!

    Thanks!! Hope to hear from you soon!

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