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Wednesday, December 6

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Recipe Fri Feb 14 2014

Recipe Mashup: Chicago Mix Brownie Cookies

Garrett Popcorn Chicago Mix Brownie Cookies Recipe

I've loved brownies since I was a kid, even before I knew they were invented in Chicago.

In 1893, my beloved brownie was created in the kitchen of Chicago's Palmer House (now the Palmer House Hilton) as a new dessert to serve at the World's Columbian Exposition; it was cake-like, but smaller for portability. The original brownie recipe used crushed walnuts and an apricot glaze; the Palmer House Hilton still makes brownies according to this original recipe.

Nothing against crushed walnuts or apricot glaze, but I like the challenge of incorporating more unconventional ingredients in my brownie creations. For this challenge, I selected Garrett Popcorn's The Chicago Mix, which combines sweet Caramel Crisp with savory Cheese Corn. (A trick I learned from a former Garrett Popcorn employee on how to eat the irresistible Cheese Corn without turning your fingers orange: use chopsticks!)

Garrett Popcorn, launched in Chicago in 1949, became popular by handcrafting small batches of popcorn in old-fashioned copper kettles based on a secret family recipe. The now-famous Chicago Mix was created by Garrett's after watching people buy separate bags of cheese and caramel corn, then awkwardly trying to combine them.

After my own trial-and-error in combining Chicago Mix with brownies, I ended up with a brownie cookie which had the right amount of moisture content to not overwhelm the popcorn. This Chicago Mix Brownie Cookie is crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside.

Great straight from the oven, the rich chocolate of the brownie is bold and decadent. And I found that the cheese and caramel popcorn flavors actually got stronger as the chocolate brownie base cooled.

Chicago Mix Brownie Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies


  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups Garrett Popcorn The Chicago Mix flavor


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips on high for about two minutes. Stir with a spatula to facilitate the melting process. Continue heating in microwave in additional 30-second intervals, and stirring after each interval. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Stirring after each interval will ensure the chocolate melts evenly and the chocolate will continue to melt while you are stirring. Stir until completely melted; set aside and let cool.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or mixing bowl of a stand mixer), beat together butter and brown sugar (about two minutes on medium speed). Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined.

With mixer on low speed, alternately beat in chocolate and flour mixtures. Mix just until combined. Fold in the Chicago Mix popcorn. The dough will be very thick and the popcorn will begin to breakdown in the batter.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, two inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for two minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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Pam / February 16, 2014 5:11 PM

Dark chocolate + caramel + cheese (all the basic food groups) in a new mix that's crunchy AND chewy? Brilliant!

Sally / February 22, 2014 9:07 AM

The brownies sound great but I'm not sure about the cheese popcorn in there, I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to trying new things!

Tiffany Greene Elliott / February 22, 2014 9:11 AM

These brownies sounds yummy!! I am always up to trying something different!! Thank you!!

Sky Evans / February 22, 2014 9:23 PM

These look sooo good! I love the original

itzia / February 23, 2014 12:48 AM

I loved the Chicago mix when I tried it. i can't wait to try this recipe

Elisanta H. / February 24, 2014 6:58 PM

This sounds really interesting... DEFINITELY going to have to try it. Thanks!

Cindy Merrill / February 25, 2014 6:13 AM

Chocolate and cheese? Sorry. I grew up in Maine, on a potato farm; didn't even taste garlic until I was in my 20's. Too wild for this child.

tina m / February 26, 2014 2:41 PM

You went and messed up perfectly good brownies..haha just kidding. I don't think I would want the cheese popcorn but I would at least taste them to check them out. thanks

Harvey Morris / February 26, 2014 7:51 PM

I can appreciate the apprehension about cheese & chocolate. I felt the same way before I tried this recipe. But the combination really works so I encourage you to keep an open mind and at least try it first. If you've ever had the Garrett Chicago Mix, you know that the savory / sweet combo is really tasty. It's the same theory at work here: a mostly sweet brownie with a hint of savory popcorn inside!

Della Barker / February 27, 2014 5:41 PM

They look great, but I'm not so sure about cheese popcorn in a brownie. I'd have to try them to see might change my mind.

Solducky / February 28, 2014 12:55 PM

We love both brownies and chicago mix popcorn, so I totally have to try this!

Michelle Martinez / February 28, 2014 2:36 PM

OMG!! YES!!!!

RICHARD HICKS / February 28, 2014 8:03 PM

This looks so tasty. Would love to try this out very soon!

Susan D / March 1, 2014 12:17 AM

I prefer my brownies without the unusual ingredients. Before trying this one, I would need to make sure that there was no whey in the cheese of the cheese popcorn. Having to check ingredients like that would not be much fun. If, however, there was no whey in the cheese of the cheese popcorn, then I might give it a chance. No promises that I'll like it, though....

Mildred / March 1, 2014 12:25 AM

I think that I would stick with the Palmer House version, since I am not a fan of cheese popcorn, but trying new variations on recipes is how you find new favorites

Lily Kwan / March 1, 2014 12:02 PM

This recipe looks very tasty. Thanks for sharing!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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