1.27.2015

Brown Butter Popcorn Cookies


Yesterday I had to leave early for a meeting in Vancouver, BC. It started with my boss not able to find her passport so I was then running the workshop, at workshop only 1 mom coming (we were told 10) and them running around to find some, to presenting to 4 moms (1 very aggressive one) then driving back home. Ugh Monday, I wanted cookies!

I wanted cookies fast though and I also wanted to do something different than normal. Then I was like - duh - you have all these awesome cookbooks. I started flipping through my Smitten Kitchen cookbook and halted as soon as I saw popcorn in a cookie. Unsure, I proceeded.

OH MY WORD these were so darn tasty! Joshua got home from riding his bike from work, I announced I have cookies, he was excited, saw them and was then confused, ate one and was then obsessed.


 It's so simple and fast make these and dazzle your family and friends :)
I tweaked the recipe a bit and here it is:

2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup butter; room temp
1/2 golden brown sugar; lightly packed
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
 
 
1    in a large skillet with a lid heat oil and 2 kernels of popcorn on medium heat. Once the 2 kernels pop add the remaining popcorn with lid, shake around so all the kernels are coated in the oil. Then once the popcorn is all popped remove from heat (careful when removing lid the like to randomly pop a few into the air)
 
2    in a small pot melt the 2 tbs butter, then swirl it a little and let it start to bubble/foam, start stirring it then and watch for when it becomes browned. Watch it carefully, it is easy to let it become black butter which doesn't have the hazelnutty appeal of brown butter.
 
3   pour half of the melted butter in a large bowl, 1/8 tsp of salt, and 2 cups of popcorn and mix it all together. Then add in 2 1/2 cups of popcorn, drizzle over remaining melted butter and 1/8 tsp salt. Mix all popcorn together well and set aside.
 
4    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter well. Then beat in the sugars. Then beat in the egg and vanilla.
 
5   in another bowl mix together the flour and the baking soda. Then slowly mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until incorporated.
 
 
6    although it will look daunting add the popcorn into the dough and fold in with a spatula. Some of the kernels will break but eventually it will start to mix into the dough, I promise
 
7    plop heaping 1 tbs size cookie balls onto a cookie sheet, they don't spread a ton so you can fit quite a few on a sheet. The kernels will poke out and that is part of their appeal so don't worry
 
8    bake for 12-15 minutes, they will turn a light golden brown. let cool and savor the amazingness that is the popcorn cookie! 

1.20.2015

Star Wars Ewok Celebration Cake

 
One of our lovely friends Liz was having a Star Wars themed birthday party (YES!) and I was honored to get to make her a cake. I asked what scene she loved most in the movies and she replied the Ewoks, so I made an Ewok Celebration cake and it's just so darn adorable!
 
I love making cakes and figuring out how to bring something in my mind to life in icing and edibles, but sometimes you just don't have the time and that's how this cake came to be. I pulled images from the internet of an Ewok and AT-ST Walkers and then edited and drew them up in poses in Illustrator and had them laser cut out at work. I used sanding, films, coloring to make their look fit my fancy, and most importantly I remembered to add portion to stick in the cake so they'd stay standing. I'm in love with the little Ewok faces.

 
I've been saving the chocolate, matcha tea, and hazelnut chocolate pocky since we got it in Cincinnati from Jungle Jim's for about 6 months. I wanted to surround a cake with them so badly and this worked perfectly to create a foresty feeling for the Ewoks, plus her favorite color is green. I love the texture it adds and whimsy of it all.
 
Inside it's my favorite chai chocolate cake with a nutella frosting covered in almond buttercream, 3 layers tall.


Her party was fabulous and included a Dark n' Stormy-Trooper, games, decals and a drinking game to The Empire Strikes Back, such as drink when Luke whines (uh oh) It was lovely and fun to get to celebrate Liz with everyone!