Our contributor, Miso of Miso Bakes, is sharing a fun tutorial just in time for St. Patrick’s Day…
Have you found your pot of gold? I did and it was right in my kitchen! This month I stepped away from cakes and created a baking tutorial the whole family can participate in and enjoy. Not only is this project very fun, the best part is that the whole thing is edible! Caramel corn piled high inside a decorated cookie box…. it’s the Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow!
Pot of Gold Tutorial
by Miso Bakes
Rolled Sugar Cookie Dough
Gold Nuggets (Caramel Popcorn)
- Cut out a template using cardstock paper. You will need four sides and a bottom. You can create a straightedge box or one that is slightly tapered.
- Roll your favorite sugar cookie dough to a thickness you desire.
- Using a straightedge knife, cut out the shapes. *
- Chill and bake as usual.
- If the cookies spread during baking, working quickly, place the template on top of the cookies and re-cut around the edges as soon as they come out of the oven.**
- Once cool, decorate the cookies with royal icing. I kept my designs very simple and played around with dots and lines.***
*Note: If you can’t work quickly enough, it is best to roll the dough out on the back of a cookie sheet, cut the shapes, peel away the scraps, chill, and then transfer the shapes onto another baking sheet prior to baking.
**Note: I find that it’s easiest to use a pizza cutter. If you do trim the excess edges off, the cookie may become a bit brittle around the edges. You can seal the edges with a thin layer of royal icing (I just use my clean fingers to spread it) and let it dry.
***Note: If you want uniform designs on your cookies, you can gently press your cookie cutter against the unbaked dough to leave lines you can trace when decorating. Or, if you want to be fancy, you can cut out shapes, fill it in with crushed candy, and bake. This will give you a stained-glass look.
- Once your cookies are decorated and dried, glue assemble them using stiff royal icing. It is best to glue the sides onto the base one at a time. You may use a box to hold up the sides as it dries.
- If you are making a tapered box and there is a big gap, do not worry! Just fill the gap with royal icing. We will hide it.
- Once your box dries, spread a thin layer of royal icing (preferably one that is not too stiff) around an edge.
- Sprinkle with sprinkles.
- Repeat until all the edges have been pampered.
Gold Nuggets (Caramel Popcorn Recipe):
(I cheated when I created this recipe and used microwave popcorn. If you would like to pop popcorn the old-fashioned way, please feel free to do so!)
3-packs of microwave popcorn (I used Kettle Corn flavored. You may use anything but butter-flavored.)
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pop your popcorn and place in a large bowl. Be sure to pick out the kernels.
- In a very clean, heavy-bottom pot place your sugar. Add a bit of water- just enough to create a wet sand consistency.
- Add corn syrup.
- Bring your mixture to a boil and wait for it to turn into an amber color. It is best not fidget with the sugar as it does its caramelizes. Keep a close eye on the sugar as it changes color. Once it begins to change color, it can go from perfect to burnt in a few moments!
- Once your caramel reaches a color you like, pull it off the stove and onto a pot coaster.
- Add butter and vanilla beans (It will sputter viciously so please be careful!)
- Whisk until all incorporated. Add baking soda. Whisk. You will see a slight color change.
- Pour over popped popcorn.
- Quickly toss the popcorn using two rubber spatulas.
- Cool completely. Or, if you want crispier popcorn, spread your popcorn onto a half-sheet pan coated with non-stick spray. Bake for an hour at 200 F, tossing every 20 minutes or so.
- Fill the boxes with popcorn and enjoy! Or, if giving as gifts, wrap in cellophane and tie with a cute ribbon!
If you would like extra special popcorn, you may add a tablespoon or two of Irish Cream to the caramel while you add the butter! : )
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!