When I was a kid, Mike Schmidt (as in, Mike Schmidt star 3rd baseman of the Phillies) lived in my bedroom. Well, maybe not the actual Mike Schmidt, but a life-size poster of him. You’d think this might be slightly alarming for a child – waking up every morning to a strange man with a handlebar mustache and borderline mullet staring at you as you blink your sleepy eyes open. Eh, well, what can I say. We were very trusting out on the farm.
My Dad was on the board of the National Milk Producers, and therefore had a hand in the advertising done for Milk. Before there was GOT MILK?, there was MILK! IT’S FITNESS YOU CAN DRINK!, and MILK, IT DOES A BODY GOOD!. Who better to measure how well the cow juice was working than a professional baseball player? (Celebrity endorsement at it finest.)
This life-size poster had a ruler along the side, so you could “Drink Your Milk and See How You Measure Up to Mike Schmidt”. (Once I tired of Mike, he was replaced by the Philly Flyers’ Dave Poulin. His 5 o’clock shadow and lack of front teeth was way cooler than the mustache. Then he stared at me for a few months.)
Anyway, the point of all this is baseball. And how my roommate Mikey was really the only connection I had to the great American pastime as a kid. Sometime in the past 25 years since, my family has become baseball nuts and no one ever told me. SUE! loves going to games, my brother married a Met’s fan (but we don’t really talk about that), and my grandfather can rattle off all the stats for any team, game, season, blah, blah, blah. It’s a natural progression I guess. Fulltime famer to fulltime Phanatic.
Don’t get me wrong. I love waving a big fan finger just as much as everyone else. But really, I like to go to a Mariner’s game on a gorgeous evening when the Mountain is out, drink a big cold beer and eat my one hot dog of the year. The baseball is sort of just a sideshow. Oh, and the tiny old Asian man in a suit who is at least 100 years old, always standing in the same spot on the Occidental snack alley, yelling at the top of his very old shriveled lungs “PEEEEEEE-NUTS!!” I would go to every game just to see him.
But once those attractions have worn off, there’s still one last thing that can lure me to a game. And that’s kettle corn. And don’t think about getting me a small, normal sized bag. I want the cubic yard-sized bag of the hot, salty, sweet, sticky popcorn. Don’t think I’ll be sharing with you, either. Get your own. Ug, it’s so good. Where has kettle corn been my whole life? If my kitchen was even one inch bigger, I’d install one of those cauldron-kettles and make it every day.
So. In honor of this favorite treat and Opening Day, I have a fun recipe for you. It’s a kettle corn chocolate chip cookie. I know you’re thinking this is crazy. Popcorn in a cookie??? Trust me, it’s genius. It’s crunchy where the sugar coating of the popcorn has burned in the oven just a little bit, and it’s chewy where the popcorn has started to go a little stale. Plus it’s a chocolate chip cookie!
Bonus points, because after you’ve stuffed your face with .75 cubic yards of kettle corn at the ball game, you probably are going to need to go on a diet. And this cookie is practically a bite sized diet, because while most cookies are all sugar and butter, this cookie is only half sugar and butter, and half popcorn. Cha-ching! (Or you can just eat twice as many.)
Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen started this whole stick-some-popcorn-in-a-cookie silliness with her new cookbook. And I have to say, it’s genius. I tweaked her recipe a bit and added kettle corn instead of just regular, boring, plain popcorn and chocolate chips because, well, DUH! But if you can’t get down to the Ball Park to get a bag of kettle corn, the plain stuff will work. Heck, I bet caramel would work, too. Either way, give it a try. These cookies are so yummy it’ll have you singing “Take me out to the balllll game (for kettle corn).” Enjoy!
Kettle Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup (155g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups kettle corn popcorn
1 cup choc chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, and salt.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Combine the flour and baking soda and stir with a fork to break up any large chunks and mix. Add to the sugar mixture in two steps.
With a wooden spoon, fold in the kettle corn and chocolate chips, and stir to distribute as evenly as possible – the ratio of cookie batter to chips and popcorn is about 1:1, so it’s a not going to look right. Have faith.
Portion out the batter with an ice cream scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2″ in between cookies.
Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
You’re going to worry when you are stirring in the popcorn because there’s not very much cookie dough. Have faith. This looks terribly wrong, but is completely right.
An ice cream scoop is the way to go with when you’re portioning the batter. It’s literally half popcorn, so it doesn’t really hold together very well. If you use a scoop, you can really pack the batter, and then it sticks together well. And your cookies will all be the exact same size and perfectly shaped, too . ☺
These cookies are best when eaten within 24 hours. The popcorn does go a little stale, and they aren’t as good then.