Experimenting (And Failing) With My Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe

Dec 20, 2018

My oven has finally been replaced! It's time for another recipe! This one is going to be a bit different because the recipe isn't actually mine. A few years ago, I discovered Danielle's blog, Live Well Bake Often on Pinterest (thank the heavens for Pinterest). There, I found a Peppermint Patty Stuffed Chocolate Cookie recipe that would easily become my go-to for holiday cookies.

peppermint patty chocolate cookies

I've made them every year since then. My friends and family adore it. I shamelessly NEVER reveal to them how I get the middle to be wonderfully minty like a Peppermint Patty. I can't believe how long I've gone without them figuring it out - I simply add Peppermint Patties inside the dough. Guess my secret's up!

I decided to experiment a little this year using the same fabulous recipe by Danielle. Why try to mess with such magic? Who knows. But I did. Here are the main factors of this recipe:
- chocolate cookie dough base
- mini peppermint patties for the filling

Here's how I changed it:
- swapped the peppermint patties for caramel candy
- topped the cookies with crumbled buttery popcorn

ingredients for caramel popcorn chocolate cookies

Basically, I went for a Caramel Popcorn Chocolate Cookie. Instead of a cool minty filling, there's should be an oozy caramel filling to pair with the salty popcorn topping. Yum!

Except the recipe did NOT go as planned. It was a total fail. I screwed it up - had not one successful cookie. Panicking ensued. But here I am revealing the failed experiment because it happens and that's alright! I'm no professional baker. I sure as heck don't want to come off as one.

inside of caramel popcorn chocolate cookies

So here's how the cookie experiment essentially failed: The center was DRY - NO oozing of caramel! Here's why it happened: The caramels were absorbed by the dough while in the oven. It became part of the cookie. So it left me with a really sweet and somewhat dense cookie. But the popcorn was a success! It adhered to the top of the cookie well and remained delicious. The overall taste was not bad - super sweet chocolate with a hint of caramel and salty popcorn on top. Not terrible, but not what I was going for.

final product caramel popcorn chocolate cookies

You might think the key takeaway here is to never mess with recipes, but I don't think that's the case. I say, keep experimenting! All cookies started from a base recipe - we've come to fun and interesting cookies because of experiments! You just have to do some research and keep trying. This year, I'm sticking to the original recipe. But there's always next year! If you plan on trying a better version of my experiment, I suggest omitting the caramel center and topping the cookie with a caramel glaze and buttery popcorn.

Tell me about your favorite cookie recipe! Do you like to experiment when baking or do you stick to the rules? Let me know! I hope you all have a lovely holiday season with plenty of tasty cookies at the table.

Vanilla Bean Paste: It's just as accessible and far more delicious than vanilla extract. Totally worth the switch.
Mini Peppermint Patties: (if you choose to follow Danielle's original recipe): Get MINI patties - you'll yield more cookies that way.
Hand Mixer: If you can't afford a huge stand mixer, hand mixers do the job just as well.
Wire Rack: It might seem extra, but these help the cookie cool quickly and evenly. If you leave cookies on the baking sheet, they can remain hot and cooking for too long.

*affiliate links were used for the above items!
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