Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pop Rocks Cookies

Last week our nation celebrated its 234th birthday. I wanted to show my patriotism, so I decided to harness the power of food fireworks.

Pop Rocks Cookies
Adapted from Alton Brown. Makes approximately 3 dozen

Sugar Cookies
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
2 packets Pop Rocks (strawberry)
Egg whites, pasteurized
Powdered sugar
4 packets Pop Rocks (assorted red and blue flavors)

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk, beating to combine. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until all the flour is just incorporated. Fold in the pop rocks. Divide dough in half and place between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll dough into a large disc, then place discs in the fridge for at least one hour.

Pop Rocks Dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicone mat. Remove one disk from the fridge and let it warm for a couple minutes on the counter. Roll the dough on a floured surface until approximately 1/4" thick. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutter (I opted for stars). Place cookies one inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheet is full, then place the sheet in the fridge for five minutes. When not using the cookie dough, put it back in the fridge too. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges star to turn golden brown. Cool cookies on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Baked Pop Rocks Cookies

I used a very simple royal icing on the cookies to allow the Pop Rocks to stick. I would recommend that you do this right before you are about to serve the cookies as Pop Rocks become less powerful as they are exposed to the moisture in the air. For the royal icing, I used about a tablespoon of pasteurized egg whites (forgive me because I did not measure) and whisked in to this about a cup of powdered sugar. Pretty much start with 1 tbsp of egg whites and add as much powdered sugar as you need to get a spreadable or pipable consistency that won't go everywhere. If you want, you can add vanilla to the icing, but I liked to keep it as pale white as I could. Sprinkle cookies with Pop Rocks.

Pop Rocks Cookies

These cookies were a real hit at the barbecue I attended. The cookies themselves have a very mild pop. You can see that some of them sustained some damage from the Pop Rocks during baking, leaving pock marks (sunspots? solar flares?). But the candies strewn on top of the cookies provided the real punch. I specifically chose a plainer cookie so that the Pop Rocks could shine through. Nothing makes adults grin like surprising them with a dessert featuring one of their childhood favorite candies. Hope everyone had as great a Fourth of July as I did.

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