Popcorn hasn't always been at the top of my list for a healthy and enjoyable snack. Does anyone back in Australia remember those unnaturally neon sugary morsels that came in a pointed plastic bag? No pre-teen birthday party was without them. Or what about those sticky and sickly Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs? Do they still exist? And then there's the cinema fuel that tastes more like chemicals than corn and butter but for some reason you can't stop eating - until you break a tooth on the burnt black kernels found lurking at the bottom of the box.
This, however, is an old school of thought. The humble snack has had a makeover. Somewhere, somehow, somebody clever has connived a way of nixing the bits that keep our dentists in summer houses, while adding proper flavour. Et voila - a new healthy-ish, albeit a little pricey, contra-prandial nibble has hit our collective subconscious, and I'm hooked.
But what do write about when a boxful of Metcalfe's latest flavours turns up on my doorstep? I could bash out a review, but that would be too easy (and potentially ho-hum for both of us). Instead, I decided to take a leaf out of Joy The Baker's book and make some cookies with the the new sweet cinnamon spice variety. Between inspiration and the time it took me to execute said plan, however, the pack had disappeared. I'm not naming names but I live with a husband and a cat - you do the math.
It was all I could do not to rip open the mega-bag of 'heat and sweet' and gorge myself until the pain went away. Instead, I put my thinking cap on and came up with something even better. Chilli and chocolate and cookies, oh my. So here you have it - my brilliant (hubris notwithstanding) chilli chocolate popcorn cookies. No, they're not going to win any beauty contests, but they are chewy, slightly spicy and very delicious. And, while I know they're not all that healthy, the popcorn is replacing the handful of chocolate chips that I usually throw into this mix. That makes them better for you, right?
Here's the popcorn. Great on its own, more fun to bake with.
Hmmmmm.... chocolate cookie batter.
The raw batter/popcorn magic.
These babies are about to hit the oven.
Ugly, but beautiful.
Look mum, one hand...
50g unsalted butter
225g dark chocolate, chopped
170g light brown sugar
80g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
4 cups of chilli flavoured popcorn*
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
- Pre-heat your oven to 170°C/345°F and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
- Suspend a bowl over a pan of boiling water (don't let it touch the water) and add the butter and chocolate. Once it's melted and mixed together nicely, remove from the heat.
- Get out your mixer and give the eggs and sugar a good thrashing until the mix is nice and creamy.
- Add the chocolate/butter mixture, and then beat in the flour salt and baking powder.
- Using a spoon, stir in the popcorn (it'll seem like a lot, but keep going, trust me).
- For each cookie, serve out about a tablespoonful of the batter onto the baking paper leaving about a 5cm gap between each.
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes (until they've just started to brown).
- Leave to cool on the tray for a couple minutes before putting them on a wire rack (or, if you're like me, try one straight away with a glass of milk).
* I used Metcalfe's 'heat and sweet' skinny topcorn, but you could also make it yourself with ¼ cup of kernals, popped, a half-teaspoon of Cajun chilli powder, and a good shake of sea salt.
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