Last night I had a hankering for something sweet, but on the healthy-ish spectrum. And after having had some decent sleep for once!--oatmeal cookies kept speaking to me. So. . . long story short, I will first admit to not having the original idea for these cookies. The credit goes instead to Deb Perelman and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. A newly acquired cookbook purchase, I literally flipped the book open to begin perusing the pages for yummy things to try and it fell right open to the picture of her Buttered Popcorn Cookies. Need I say more?
I don't know which I loved more--eating the raw vegan cookie/popcorn dough straight or munching these baked beauties down with tea last night. Having one as an after breakfast treat this morning--the oatmeal puts the guilt about the cookie part to rest--I loved them even more. I'll give you my vegan adaptation for this cookie down below--feel free to skip over this next part, it's the celebratory chatter over my having had a few nights of restful, eight hour sleep!
So along with my vitamin regimen changing a bit, I've decided that I cannot afford a single day of not working on my wellness. *And yes, I count these cookies as part of my wellness.
I've kept my running schedule to 3-4 miles per day. Winter running is a bit of a challenge for me as I might imagine it is for other women as well. While cooler weather is ideal for running--the places women can run are more tricky to navigate. Sure you can see further into the woods, but then you can also see--while running through picturesque settings--how much of those woods separate you from civilization! Women have it harder than men when it comes to options for running outside--especially in the dead of winter. I am not as confident running trails or streets alone as I was say, three years ago. I won't take myself anywhere alone--or where the chance of my being alone for l-o-n-g stretches of time surrounded by woods and. . . "monsters" prevail. Yes I have my phone with me, but as Dr. Thyme and I have discussed on numerous occasions what the heck are the chances I'll be able to scream, turn my phone on, enter my passcode and dial 911 should something unforeseen occur? I am barely able to operate multiple apps at once to support my running without accidentally dialing someone! So the treadmill fulfills many of my winter workouts. Post running usually involved some yoga. A post about my love/hate relationship with yoga will have to wait for another time. But trust me, my sleeping has returned and with it, more energy to bake!
So about these cookies. I was a bit late to the Smitten Kitchen book party because of my concern over the book being a rehash of the blog. Not so. Which for me is even better. I love her blog, so it stands to reason, I've enjoyed perusing the cookbook as well. But as I said, this buttered popcorn cookie recipe--when I saw it, I had a connection to it instantly!
Here's how I adapted the recipe: I removed the majority of the all-purpose flour she calls for in her recipe. I opted for adding oat flour to mine in with a bit of all-purpose. And I also opted out of buttering my popcorn before adding it to the dough. I thought I might be able to get the buttery flavor equally as well by using a touch of imitation butter flavoring. (I am not averse to imitation flavorings in my baking. I always keep the butter flavor on hand to spruce things up when I feel it's called for. It was called for in this cookie for sure.) The other adaptations included using raw sugar in place of white sugar--and cutting the sugar back a bit even, using a 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt vs. table salt, using Egg Replacer (of course) and vegan margarine. The whole sweet/salty thing in these is what gets to the biggest part of my heart. Dr. Thyme asked where the chocolate was? To my mind, chocolate was not a welcome participant. But that's not to say you couldn't toss in a quarter cup or so of chocolate. But really, you'd be hard pressed to find enough dough to coat the chips--it's a very popcorn heavy cookie. In a good way.
First things first, pop the popcorn.
Mix the dough.
Fold in the popcorn. It's a hot mess rolling these cookies into balls, trust me. But once you get over the fear of breaking the popcorn up, all will be fine. I was reminded of making popcorn balls. Or. . . was that of "eating" popcorn balls?
Allow to cool. (Please try to save some of the dough for making cookies!)
I also just got my copy of the Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook. I love it! There will be more on that perhaps later.
One more side note. I have been knitting away feverishly on the Downton Abbey Gauntlets for the Jimmy Beans Wool Downton Abbey KAL. I have decided that after I finish knitting these, it might be time to really throw myself behind knitting some socks. I have thoroughly enjoyed making these! I love my yarn, I love the pattern. There was one little problem that I had to overcome. Knowing me and the fact that I get bored easily, I thought it was critical to my participation that I knit both at once. This required me to flip part of the knitting pattern around to suit the lace up/eyelet portion of the gloves. I had trouble with this part because my mother never had my dyslexia fully diagnosed. Thankfully, the same issue of knitting two at once on double pointed needles had been addressed in a thread on the Ravelry discussion boards already. However, during the course of my beginning my second glove, I somehow became confused and while deciding to begin one of the gloves again to make the lace up/eyelet switch, I grabbed the bag with the two nights and four hours of work done and began mindlessly RIPPING out stitches! It didn't dawn on me that I had the glove with the most progress made in my hands, now shrunk to a mere two rows of stitches. (I blamed my menopausal crisis and Sleep Deprivation for this travesty.) There were tears, too. Then I had to put my big girl menopausal pants on and start over. All is right with the world again. I am a bit behind from the rest of the knitters owing to this misstep. But as you can see--so pretty!
These will be so fun to wear! I will proudly go to the store and fling produce up in the air with these!
Oatmeal Buttered Popcorn Cookies
*Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted vegetable margarine (1 stick)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup raw sugar (turbinado)
1 1/2 teaspoon egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water (1 egg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon imitation butter extract
1/4 cup unpopped popcorn (turns into 4-5 cups popped)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, pop the popcorn. Set aside and allow to cool while you prepare the dough. In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients--flours, salt, baking soda--and mix together well with a fork. Next, in a medium mixing bowl, with a hand blender, mix together the margarine and sugars until creamy. (It won't be completely smooth because of the addition of the raw sugar). Add the egg replacer and blend until well incorporated. Then the extracts. Slowly add in the flour--blending only on low for a short bit--like five seconds. (Most of the mixing you'll have left will require you to use your hands.) Finally, add in the popped popcorn and begin shaping the dough into balls. Space them about two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown a bit. Remove from oven, allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.