The working title of this post was, “How to have a wonderful birthday when you don’t have time to have a birthday.”
Sometimes your birthday comes around at an inconvenient time. This probs happens more often than not, seeing as most of us have life generally going on around us. This year, the big 2-5 was 3 days before our exam over the gastrointestinal system. So, you know, no big crazy blowout on the sched. But I had a fabulous day nonetheless, in between all the notes about hepatitis and ulcerative colitis. Here’s how you do it:
First, you make sure you’re well-stocked with fabulous fig butter from Trader Joe’s and fresh sourdough bread. Toast it up. Then you get real butter AND fig butter because it’s your birthday. Head to Starbucks, and jokingly ask the guy working there if there’s a birthday discount, as you’re taking out your credit card. Then when he hands you your coffee and says “Happy birthday!” without taking your credit card, be so happy and genuinely surprised! Also, you should sign up for annoying Sonic emails now, because they’ll send you a coupon for a free drink on your birthday. Totes. Worth it.
Buy yourself flowers! Actually, do this any day. It’s amazing how much they brighten up every day. You should make sure you have an awesome brother who likes to bake and will bake you the most delicious, more gorgeous coconut-covered Texas Cream Cake without any assistance from anyone. Oh! When you wake up before the sun comes up (it IS still test week), it should be SNOWING. In Dallas!
Finally, almost 1 week later (doesn’t everyone stretch it out to a birthday week?), after celebrating with family and friends with pizza, grapefruit cupcakes, and fancy drinks, you should make yourself a funfetti cake. Because why not?
Caramel Popcorn Cookies
I made these cookies after I bought waaaay too much caramel toffee popcorn on sale after Christmas at Target. I just adapted one of my favorite basic cookie recipes and added some roughly chopped caramel corn. They’re chewy, moist, and hold up well for gifting, shipping, or bringing to work! Makes 18-24 cookies.
12 TBS unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups + 2 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups caramel corn, roughly chopped
2 TBS granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the foam subsides and the butter has started to brown. Pour in a heatproof bowl and let cool slightly.
2. Preheat oven to 325F with racks in the upper middle and lower middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the brown butter and both sugars with a rubber spatula until well-combined. Stir in the egg and egg yolk, then the vanilla.
4. Stir in the baking soda and 1/2 tsp of salt. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the popcorn.
5. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 TBS sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp salt.
6. Using a medium cookie scoop or large spoons (about 3 TBS per cookie), scoop out the cookie dough, placing the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar-salt mixture over each cookie. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes until just golden around the edges. They won’t look completely done in the middle, but don’t let them overbake! Let cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated
Thanks for reading, happy baking!