Joanne Chang, the chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery + Café, loves to share her expertise, especially through cookbooks. Her latest, Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes, was released on Tuesday, November 5. It provides over 125 recipes that are approachable and traditional, yet imaginative. Everything from breakfast pastries, sweet and savory breads, pies, cakes, candies, and stunning desserts is covered in this recipe collection.
Every year one of Flour's bakery locations host a pop-up brunch or dinner as a fundraiser for a rotating charity. It’s an opportunity for Flour's chefs to come together and cook as a team and show off their chops. The pastry chefs also participate by baking desserts and treats for the last course and for the gift bags that people take with them. Jessi, a pastry chef at Flour Fort Point, made a number of different tiny cookies for these take-away bags, and this was a favorite. It turns a beloved childhood treat into a fun cookie that is crispy, chewy, sweet, salty, and highly addictive.
Jessi’s Caramel Popcorn Cookies
Makes 24 to 26 cookies
- 1 ⅓cups firmly packed/ 295 grams light brown sugar
- 14 tablespoons/ 1 ¾ sticks/ 200 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg (about 50 grams), at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups/ 280 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon koshersalt
- About 6 cups Carmel Popcorn (see below) or store-bought caramel popcorn
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place racks in the center and bottom third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and vanilla. Beat until combined. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just barely combined. Add the popcorn and mix on low until the popcorn is fully incorporated. (At this point the batter can be stored in anairtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
- Drop large rounded spoonfuls of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Sprinkle the cookies evenly with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets and switching their positions midway through the baking time, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes about 6 cups
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as canola)
- ¼ cup/ 60 grams unpopped popcorn kernels
- ½ cup/ 1 stick/ 115 grams unsalted butter
- ½ cup firmly packed/ 110 grams light brown sugar
- ⅛teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it lightly, and set it aside.
- In a really large pot with a lid, heat the oil over high heat until hot. Add the popcorn, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-high. Shake the pot every few seconds until you start to hear the popcorn popping, then shake the pot constantly as it continues to pop. When the popping slows down to one pop every few seconds, turn off the heat but keep shaking. When you hear one pop every 5 or 6 seconds, remove the pot from the stove and dump the popcorn out into a large bowl. Remove and discard any unpopped kernels.
- Return the pot to the stove and add the butter and brown sugar. Heat over high heat until the butter melts. It will get foamy and start to color bit by bit. Boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, for about 1 minute, until the color deepens to golden brown like maple syrupand it smells rich and delicious. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda and salt. Immediately put the popcorn back into the pot all at once. Stir until the popcorn is evenly coated. Spread the popcorn on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and let cool. The popcorn will be soft when you first remove it from the oven but will crisp up as it cools.
- Caramel popcorn can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Excerpted from Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes © 2019 by Joanne Chang. Photography © 2019 by Kristin Teig. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.