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a cookie with a bite taken out of it on a white surface
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Salted Caramel Popcorn Cookies

These super easy popcorn cookies are made with homemade caramel glazed popcorn, soft and chewy spiced cookie dough, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt!
Servings 10 cookies
Prep 20 mins
Cook 8 mins
Total 1 hr 13 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • cup popcorn kernels about 2 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil, or other high heat oil for popping

Caramel Sauce

  • cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¾ tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Cookie Dough

  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • ½ cup caramel popcorn, roughly chopped for the dough and for topping
  • flaky salt, to finish

Instructions

Popping the Popcorn

  • Place a small pot over medium heat and add the avocado oil. When the oil is hot and shiny, add the popcorn kernels and cover with a lid. Shake the pan every few minutes or so to not burn the kernels. Heat until the popcorn is completely popped, then remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Set aside.
    ⅛ cup popcorn kernels, 1 teaspoon avocado oil, or other high heat oil for popping

Making the Caramel Sauce

  • Rinse the pot you used for the popcorn to get rid of any little bits of the kernels. Then add the sugar, brown sugar, agave, water, and butter. Place back on the stove over medium high heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir everything together.
    1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1 tablespoon water, ¾ tablespoon butter
  • Set a timer for 12 minutes and heat the caramel WITHOUT stirring until it reaches 300 degrees F/149 degrees C, then add the baking soda. Stir to combine the baking soda. The caramel should look lighter in color.
    ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Carefully pour the caramel sauce over the bowl of popped popcorn and use your rubber spatula to gently fold them together. Once completely coated, set the bowl aside to cool.

Making the Cookie Dough

  • In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar and mix to combine them.
    8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar
  • Add the room temperature egg and whisk to combine it into the bowl.
    1 large egg, room temperature
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and apple pie spice. Fold them into the cookie dough, and when the flour is almost completely incorporated, add the roughly chopped caramel popcorn pieces. Fold to combine.
    1 ½ cups flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • Using a large cookie scoop, scoop the dough into about 10 cookies onto a parchment lined baking tray. The dough will be pretty soft. Top each dough ball with extra pieces of caramel popcorn.
  • Place the baking tray in the fridge for 45 minutes to chill the dough.
  • Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle with flaky salt to finish. Allow to cool before enjoying!
    ½ cup caramel popcorn, roughly chopped

Notes

Step by step process photos are provided above, in the body of this post.
Always spoon measure your flour when baking! This means using a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup. This will give the most accurate results when baking.
Caramel- The video and process shots of the caramel are in a light colored sauce pan to show you want it looks like color wise when it's ready, however you should absolutely use a pot instead as the caramel cooks WAY too fast in a sauce pan.
Substitutions:
  • Use microwave popped popcorn instead of popping it from scratch. Make sure to use unsalted and un-buttered popcorn bags! You will only use 2 cups of the popped popcorn from the bag.
Expert Tips
  • Make sure the dough is chilled for at least 45 minutes, otherwise the cookies will spread a ton in the oven.
  • Chop the caramel popcorn before folding it into the dough, otherwise the cookies will bake really tall like dough balls.
  • If you don't have a thermometer for checking the temperature of the caramel, when the timer hits 12 minutes, use a metal spoon to carefully spoon a bit of the caramel into a glass or bowl of ice water. Spoon the caramel back out and try and snap it in half. If it snaps, it's ready to add the baking soda. If it still bends, let it cook for a minute or two longer and then test again. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.7g | Protein: 2.7g | Fat: 9.9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 22.2g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg