Paula Roy: Whole Foods in Half the Time


Sweet & Salty Carnival Cookies

Festive treats for any party, picnic or playdate

by: Paula Roy
Buttery popcorn, toffee and colourful chocolate candies make these cookies delicious and festive

I first made these cookies on a dreary, rainy day and I swear they brightened up the atmosphere in our house very quickly. They combine all of my favourite elements of a trip to a carnival – buttery popcorn, toffee and colourful candies – without a side helping of creepy clowns. Who’s with me on the creepy clown thing? Anyway, they’re delicious and super fun to make; they’d be a great baking project to enjoy with little ones.


1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp unpopped popcorn kernels
1/4 cup skor toffee baking bits
1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini M&Ms
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Sweet and Salty Carnival Cookies |


   Preheat oven to 350F.  Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    Pop the corn on the stove in a medium saucepan – do this by heating oil in the pan over medium heat for a minute then adding kernels. Put the lid on the pot but keep it slightly ajar so the steam can escape. Lift the pan off the heat every 10 seconds and gently shake it. As soon as the popping has almost stopped, remove the pan from the heat.

    Pour the popped corn into a bowl and sprinkle skor bits over top then drizzle with melted butter. Use two forks to toss evenly. Comb through the bowl and discard any kernels which have not popped. Set aside and make dough.

    Cream together butter and sugars (use an electric or stand mixer if you have one) for 2 – 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy, then add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended (about a minute).  Add flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low until just combined.  

    With a rubber spatula, fold in the popped popcorn, which will disintegrate a little as you work it into the dough. Sprinkle m and m’s over top and fold in.

    Portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheets into mounds approximately 1 inch in size, using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons, spacing two inches apart.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse sea salt.  

  Bake for 8 - 9 minutes or until the edges and tops are just beginning to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

    Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 3 dozen cookies. 

Sweet and Salty Carnival Cookies |

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