Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn Cookies

You know those weekends that are pretty much perfect?

The ones where the air is dry and a little crisp, the sky is cloudless, and the windows are open? Where the chore list is short, the gin and tonics are flowing, and there's nothing in the plans but fun with friends and family? I love those. And because they don't come around all that often, they need to be savored.

Being on maternity leave, I'm finding that there's often not a whole lot that distinguishes a Tuesday from a Saturday.  I'm not complaining!  I love spending this quality time with my daughter, and watching her grow and develop right before my eyes each day.  I'm going to whine and cry when this is all over for sure (spoiler alert!).  Buuuuuut.  Sometimes all the days blend together and move just a leeetle too fast for me to grab hold of.  It scares me.

This weekend was one worth savoring!  The weather was gorgeous, and we spent lots of time outside.  We sang silly songs to the baby and watched her coo the words back to us.  We had a date night!  We ordered dinner out.  We visited family.  We participated in a 5K race!  (And kicked it's butt.)  We made the weekend different.  We made it stand out.

Oh yeah, AND!  I made chocolate chip cookies!  Chocolate chip cookies with caramel popcorn in them!

Maybe these cookies will be my *thing*.  Maybe we should get a cookie jar so that my kids will always know how much I love them.  Maybe that's just code for I want these cookies around me all the time and maternity leave needs to end so that I stop eating all the things.

Soo, do you guys know about Angie's Boom Chicka Pop popcorn?  It's amazing.  I regularly buy the Lightly Sweet and Sea Salt varieties, and I regularly go through a bag in 2-3 sittings.  Turns out, the lightly sweet popcorn totally jazzes up a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Who knew?

You like caramel corn?   You like chocolate chip cookies?   BOOM (chicka pop).  How do you make your weekend stand out?

Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes about 24 cookies
4 c caramel popcorn (I used Angie's Boom Chicka Pop popcorn)
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place the oven racks in the middle and top third of your oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
Pour the popcorn into a ziptop bag, seal the bag, and crush the popcorn into large crumbs.  Set aside.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream them together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  You could alternatively use a hand-mixer for this as well.  Add in the egg and vanilla, and beat for an additional minute.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Beat on low until just combined.  Don't overmix!

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and use a rubber spatula to fold in the reserved popcorn crumbs.  It will seem like a lot of popcorn and not a lot of dough, but keep folding!  Then fold in the chocolate chips until just combined.

Scoop the dough in heaping tablesoons onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.  When done, remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes to firm up.  Then transfer them to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

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