Caramel Corn Cookies
Caramel Corn Cookies are the perfect sweet-salty-crunchy dessert! Featuring caramel corn and roasted almonds, these homemade caramel popcorn cookies sing. Top them with a browned butter glaze for Halloween, Thanksgiving, tailgates and more. Makes 30 cookies.
On Halloween week in 2010, my mother and her sisters told me the story about how their parents (my grandparents) made caramel corn balls for trick-or-treaters every year.
Since we were counting down the days until our wedding and were baking cookies for our reception’s cookie table, it seemed like a good time for us to recreate this tradition.
As we were finishing up the cookie baking, my mom, aunts, sister and I decided to give these legendary caramel corn balls a go.
It was terribly unsuccessful (hi, hello, I struggle with caramel like nobody’s business), but every time I think of or eat caramel corn, I think of that evening in the kitchen spent laughing over our failed attempt.
Why I love this recipe:
As I tinkered with these Caramel Popcorn Cookies, I spent a lot of time reminiscing.
Spoiler alert: I spent a lot of time working on this cookie recipe because I did not get the first SEVERAL iterations correct.
My mother was in town for the final bake of these beauties, and she got to sample the goods firsthand.
We loved the salty-sweet combination in these cookies, highlighted with the crunchy nuttiness of almonds and the sweetness of the caramel corn.
The chopped caramel corn adds an almost oat-like consistency, and I just love that texture, too!
And then we drizzled a browned butter glaze over the cookies because WHY NOT?
Truly, friends, these Caramel Corn Cookies are going to be something you’ll want to make this year. Trust me. They’re that good.
And if you’re into salty-sweet desserts, this is right up your alley!
More unique cookie recipes to try this season: Shortbread Brown Butter Cookies | Kitchen Sink Cookies | Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon and Walnuts | Halloween Funfetti Cookies | Potato Chip Cookies
Need autumn recipe inspiration? Check out my Fall Recipe Index for more ideas.
What you need to make this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter—we’ll need a full stick for the cookie dough, as well as some to brown to make the glaze. Trust me when I say it’s worth the effort!
- Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this is one of the sweeteners for our cookies.
- Light brown sugar—this is the other sweetener we’ll use in this cookie recipe. I love light brown sugar because of the slight molasses flavor and the texture they add to the cookies.
- Egg—this is a leavener and a binder for our cookies. You’ll need a single large egg for the recipe.
- Pure vanilla extract—I love using the real deal in cookies because it adds lovely undertones of vanilla.
- All-purpose flour—we keep unbleached all-purpose flour in the house, but regular AP flour works here, too.
- Kosher salt—I like to use a medium grain kosher salt for this recipe. You’ll need some for the cookies and the glaze.
- Baking soda—this is our leavener and will help the cookies rise! Make sure yours is fresh.
- Caramel corn—while you can make your own (and I have a tutorial about how to make caramel corn), you could use the store-bought kind, too.
- Almonds—we’re going to need the salted, roasted kind. Chop ’em up! You can swap these out with another nut, if you prefer those, or leave them out altogether if you have an allergy.
- Powdered sugar—also known as confectioner’s sugar, this is the sweetener for the glaze. There is no substitute.
- Water—we use this to thin out the glaze so we can easily drizzle it.
How to make Caramel Popcorn Cookies
Combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a glass bowl.
Cream the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. This will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes, depending on your mixer.
Add the egg and vanilla extract. Blend until incorporated and fragrant.
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. This includes the flour, salt and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Use the hand mixer at a low speed to incorporate these into the cookie dough.
Measure in the chopped caramel corn and almonds. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold them into the dough.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes. If they refrigerate for longer, you run the risk of the popcorn getting kind of mushy.
Preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
Scoop the cookies using a cookie scoop. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and space them out so they can spread as they bake.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
Cool completely on a rack before glazing.
How to make Browned Butter Glaze
Combine the warm brown butter and powdered sugar. Season with salt and add the water.
Whisk the ingredients until combined. It should be slightly thick, but not too thick to drizzle over the cookies.
Drizzle the baked Caramel Popcorn Cookies with the glaze, and enjoy!
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
Wouldn’t these Caramel Popcorn Cookies be a blast to serve at any fall gathering?
Whether you’re hosting a tailgate party at home, a Halloween party, a dinner party or more, these cookies are a great way to end the evening.
Here’s how I would make and serve them for a crowd:
- Double the recipe. If you’re feeding a crowd, it’s smart to have more than enough.
- Bake the cookies in advance, but don’t glaze them until it’s time to serve!
- Use store-bought caramel corn instead of homemade. This will make the process of making these cookies a lot faster!
Quick tips and tricks to the best Popcorn Cookies
- Store-bought shortcut: I purchased my caramel corn at a local specialty popcorn store. You can find a store in your area or make your own.
- Chop the ingredients. The caramel corn needs to be chopped and not be giant chunks of popcorn. This adds to the texture of the cookies, and the smaller the caramel corn, the more evenly distributed it is.
- How to store: Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Zap in the microwave for 5-15 seconds to warm up before enjoying again!
Ready to make some of these beauties for yourself?
Here’s how you make ’em:
Caramel Corn Cookies
Caramel Corn Cookies are the perfect sweet-salty-crunchy dessert! Featuring caramel corn and roasted almonds, these homemade caramel popcorn cookies sing. Top them with a browned butter glaze for Halloween, Thanksgiving, tailgates and more.
Caramel Corn Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¾ cups caramel corn, chopped
- ½ cup salted, roasted almonds, chopped
Browned Butter Glaze
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
Make the Cookies
- In a large glass bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Using a hand mixer, whip the butter with the sugars until light and combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Blend using the hand mixer until incorporated.
- Measure out the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in with the hand mixer until all the dry ingredients have been mixed into the dough.
- Add the chopped caramel corn and roasted salted almonds. Using a plastic spatula, fold them into the dough.
- Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing out evenly so the cookies can spread a little as they bake.
- When all the cookies have been scooped, transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Repeat as many times as necessary to make all the cookies.
- Let the cookies cool completely before glazing them.
Make the Glaze and Glaze the Cookies
- In a medium-sized glass bowl, combine the warm browned butter with the powdered sugar. Season with salt and add the water.
- Using a whisk, stir the ingredients together until they become a glaze. It should be slightly thick, but not too thick to drizzle over the cookies.
- Once the cookies have completely cooled, drizzle with the glaze.
- Enjoy immediately!
Please note that the total time DOES contain the chill time for the dough.
I purchased my caramel corn at a local specialty popcorn store. You can find a store in your area or make your own.
When I say 'caramel corn, chopped,' I mean the pieces need to be more finely chopped than whole pieces of popcorn. This will add to the texture of the cookies, and the smaller the caramel corn, the more evenly distributed it is.
Cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Zap in the microwave for 5-15 seconds to warm up before enjoying again!
Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 99Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
What pray tell, is caramel Corn? is it caramel popcorn?
Oh my goodness, I cannot believe I did not specify this in the post. YES! Caramel corn is caramel popcorn… and it’s utterly delicious. Thanks for leaving your comment. I’m going to update the post to include this information. 😀
I made these today. I love how crispy yet chewy they are. Next time I may bump the salt up to 1 tsp as they are sweet. Thank you for this fun innovative cookie! I presented these to my neighbor as a thank you gift for doing an unsolicited good deed for me. ( I did save back a few for me & my daughter. One thing I had to do was increase the baking time to an extra 4 min.
Yvonne! Your comment has made my night! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and tell me about your experience with these cookies! I think that bumping up the salt is a good idea if they were sweet for you, and I’m pleased to hear that our ovens bake at similar times. 🙂
I love that you shared these with your neighbor as a thank you gift and that you saved a few for you and your daughter, too. What a sweet idea and what a lovely treat!