For my recent birthday, I received five (yes, five) new cookbooks. One of these five, from Quinn, was The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book. Of course, I’m sure this was a completely unselfish gift. Surely he’s not trying to encourage me to make more cookies. Anyway, I thought my first recipe to try should be something Quinn would really like. He’s a big caramel fan, so I knew he would like these.
These cookies have a caramel center. To make the center, store-bought chewy caramels do the trick. You’ll need about 36 of these, with each one cut in half. I recruited Quinn for caramel duty. Baking was delayed as he stacked them for their photo shoot. Baking was further delayed when I foolishly remarked that he could make a little “Caramelhenge” out of them. Ah, such is life with Quinn.
Mix together 2 & 1/4 cups of AP flour, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (sifted), 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Use whatever kind of cocoa you like. I used Dutch processed cocoa because I like its smooth flavor and rich color.
In a separate bowl, beat 1/2 pound of butter until softened. To this, add 1/2 cup each of sugar and dark brown sugar. Next, add 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Then, mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Once this is mixed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.
Take about a tablespoon of dough and form it into a circle. Place 2 caramel halves in the center of the dough, and fold the dough around the caramels. Make sure to seal the dough well so there won’t be any caramel leaks during baking. Place each formed cookie on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Cool the cookies on wire racks, but be sure to try one while it’s still warm and the caramel is gooey. The caramel sets up after they’ve cooled. I think they could be warmed a bit in the microwave later to restore their original gooeyness.
These were, as predicted, a big hit with Quinn. Not the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen. A bit lumpy. Some looked like standard cookies, while some looked like cookies wrapped around caramels. I’m not really a big caramel fan, so I think I would have preferred a different filling. The recipe suggested some variations – chocolate-covered almonds, Hershey’s kisses, hazelnuts… you get the idea. In hindsight, I would have made part of these with different fillings. It would be kinda like the Whitman’s Sampler of chocolate cookies. Hmmm… perhaps I’ll give it a try some day.