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Caramel Cheese Popcorn Cookies

Servings 16 large cookies

Ingredients

Caramel Powder

  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch

Base Cornmeal Cookie Dough

  • 113 grams unsalted butter soft at room temperature
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 45 grams brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 45 grams honey (2 tablespoons)
  • 175 grams all purpose flour
  • 135 grams cornmeal fine grind
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Caramel Cookie Dough

  • 30 grams caramel powder
  • 330 grams base cornmeal cookie dough

Cheese Cookie Dough

  • 35 grams cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 330 grams base cornmeal cookie dough

Instructions

Caramel Powder

  • Weigh 50 grams of sugar into a small pot
  • Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, swirling the pot frequently to distribute the sugar. Do not stir the sugar!
  • Heat the sugar until it is fully melted and deep golden/amber in color
  • Remove the caramel from the heat and pour it onto a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
  • Let the sugar cool completely. This will take at least 30 minutes, but you can do it up to 24 hours in advance of making the cookie dough.
  • Bread up the caramel sheet into smaller pieces
  • Put the caramel pieces and 1/8 teaspoon into the bowl of a mini food processor, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. Grind the caramel and cornstarch until the mixture is a blend of fine caramel dust and some small, nubbly pieces of caramel. No pieces should be larger than granules of turbinado/coarse sugar.
    If you don't have any of these tools, you can do this in a ziplock bag wrapped in a kitchen towel. Crush the caramel inside of the bag with a rolling pin or other heavy implement.

Base Cornmeal Cookie Dough

  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, combine 113 grams butter, 100 grams sugar, and 45 grams brown sugar. Beat the butter and sugars for 5-6 minutes until pale, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.
  • Add 1 egg and 45 grams of honey to the butter mixture. Beat on medium speed to combine.
  • Add 175 grams flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the bowl. Mix on low speed to combine. Stop when all of the flour disappears into the dough.
  • Divide the cookie dough in half. If you want to be exact, each half should weigh about 330 grams.

Caramel Cookie Dough

  • Combine one half of the dough with 30 grams of caramel dust. Use your hands, a wooden spoon, or a rubber spatula to work the sugar into the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 16 pieces

Cheese Cookie Dough

  • Combine the other half of the dough with 35 grams of cheddar cheese powder and 1/8 teaspoon fine salt. Use your hands, a wooden spoon, or a rubber spatula to work the sugar into the dough.
    The cheese dough will feel stiffer and drier than the caramel dough - this is normal! Don't stress.
  • Divide the dough into 16 pieces.

Assembly

  • Press one portion of cheese dough and one portion of caramel dough together gently.
  • Put the dough ball in one palm. Place your other palm over the dough ball and cup your hands so that the dough ball isn't visible.
  • Roll the dough ball between your cupped palms together firmly for at least 5 seconds to swirl the dough together
  • Uncup your palms. The dough ball may be pointy on the top and bottom - roll it gently between your palms to form it back into a ball
  • Repeat with the remaining dough pieces
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Place 8 cookie dough balls onto each baking sheet, leaving as much room between cookies as possible as these cookies spread a lot
  • Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the bake
  • Let the cookies cool completely on the pans
  • Store the cookies in a well-sealed container at room temperature. Cookies will keep for 4-6 days at room temperature, or up to a month in the freezer.