This recipe was brought to you by my weird urge to eat Nutella from a jar…which then turned into me needing something to dip into it, and then I made caramel corn…
So I have been having these strange I want to go to an amusement park feelings lately, which is out of the ordinary because I really dislike them. Growing up, it was always what we would do on our last day of school, the true start to summer, and I went along because why would I want to be the one girl who chickens out?! But honestly, they are everything I can’t stand—the dirtiness, the scary rollercoasters, the huge groups of people, being forced to go on the Tilt-A-Whirl about 10 times even though it makes you sick—you get the picture. Just lately, the thing I have been craving is the smell.
Yes. The smell of an amusement park to me is lots and lots of fried dough, French fries that have been doused in vinegar and then huge bags of kettle corn. There is this one not so great place on the ocean called Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach, but you always went when you’re in that area, even if you did just come from Funtown/Splashtown (yes, what on point names!). Their pier fries have to be THE best things I have ever had—they come in one of those big paper cones and you just drown them in ketchup and vinegar…gosh I can’t wait to go back to Maine for some of those…
Anyways, let’s get my mind away from fries and onto these cookies. It’s been in the 90’s here in Charleston and all I can think about is how badly I want to stuff my face with some too-greasy fried dough covered in powdered sugar, play a game of skee ball and then lay out on the beach. Sadly, eating fried food is all I can do here—which is kind of the same thing as homemade caramel corn, right?!
The caramel corn is so simple to make, it’s probably the easiest and most straightforward recipe out there. No thermometers to mess with, just simply boiling the ingredients until they are the caramel color you desire, pouring it all over your popcorn and letting the oven do the magic.
Note: you do not have to stuff these cookies with anything, I just think that they make it THAT much more exciting! Also, this caramel corn is insanely yummy as a snack all on its own as well.
Next is the sweetest Nutella cookie you ever did taste. To “tame” it, I used very dark chocolate chunks, upped the salt a bit, and then gave it even more depth by stuffing the cookies with basically caramel-Nutella wrapped sweet+salty popcorn!
It’s a mouthful. Honestly…
The cookie on its own is divine, but adding the filling elements brings it to the next level. Does it help that it is half the size of my face? Absolutely! But really it’s just a fun cookie to have. You all know I am obsessed with everything fruit, especially during the summer when every variety seems to flourish, but I just couldn’t resist giving you all something a little on the bad side!
You all can stuff your faces with watermelon, strawberries, grilled corn on the cob—but I know when you’re craving some of the amusement park/pier food, you’ll be thanking me with this one!
caramel corn ingredients
Natural Popcorn, popped—1.5 oz, or 5 C
Butter—3 oz, or 6 TBL
Brown Sugar—6 oz, or ¾ C
Corn Syrup—2 oz, or 3 TBL
Cream of Tartar—¼ tsp
Pop your popcorn and spread the 5 cups on a sheetpan lined with parchment or a Silpat.
Preheat your oven to 200˚ F.
In a medium sized saucepot, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt.
Cook the caramel on medium heat, bring to a boil and allow to boil for about 5 minutes.
Drizzle over the popcorn that is spread out on the pan.
With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently “toss” the popcorn and caramel together, making sure to coat each piece.
Place in your preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to insure that the popcorn is all covered with the caramel.
Allow to cool completely until you are ready to stuff the cookies—you will need to chop up the popcorn to do so!
Butter, room temperature—8 oz, or 2 sticks
Nutella—5.5 oz, or ½ C
Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C
Brown Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C + 2 TBL
Flour—24 oz, or 5 ½ C
Salt—1 ½ tsp
Baking Soda—1 tsp
Dark Chocolate Chunks—9 oz, or 1 ½ C
In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter, Nutella, and both sugars.
Once smooth and fluffy, add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.
With the mixer on low, slowly add this dry mixture to the dough.
Add in the chocolate chunks.
Transfer to another bowl and allow to chill for about 30 minutes.
When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.
Take about 2 TBL of cookie dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten into a bowl shape so that you can stuff it.
Put about a ½ tsp of Nutella in the bottom of each little cookie bowl, and then the same amount of chopped caramel corn on top.
Cover with enough cookie dough to completely enclose the Nutella/popcorn filling.
About 8 of these cookies fit comfortably on a sheet tray, as they are very large!
Bake for 15-17 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and enjoy!