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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I always learn something when I try a new cookie recipe. For instance, with this recipe I learned that caramel squares do not melt and spread when wrapped in a ball of cookie dough. The cookie dough spreads as it cooks and the square of caramel remains in the center of a large cookie, chewy and delicious but not exactly evenly distributed.

So I experimented and by the time I was finished with them the cookies were pretty much perfect. Here are the tricks to these cookies:

-Per the original recipe I portioned out 2 dozen, 3 Tbsp sized balls of cookie dough. After my first pan spread to cover the entire pan I changed tactics and reduced the amount of dough to 2 Tbsp sized balls.

-Once the dough is wrapped around the caramel the balls of dough need to be refrigerated or frozen. I think frozen works better but know that if you're going to freeze them you should increase the cooking time from 12-15 minutes to 15-18 minutes.

-Go for a generous sprinkling of salt on top. In fact, I might salt them a second time after they bake. Perhaps it's just my taste, but I like to really taste the salt in salted caramel.

-If the cookies still spread too much, leaving a hunk of caramel in the center, try chopping the caramels into pieces and mixing them into the cookie dough with the chocolate chips. Next time I might even use the caramel chips that I usually melt for caramel apples.

So there you have it, cookie 101, learned through experimentation. Truthfully these were very good cookies. Once I had the dough figured out I was pleased with the results. They are chewy and buttery and rich. The caramel adds to the chew, the salt brings out the buttery flavor of the caramel. The cinnamon adds a slight spiciness and they bake up crispy on the edges and soft in the center. I'd say these are as easy to make as any normal chocolate chip cookie so don't let that salted caramel part scare you out of trying them. And have a glass of milk handy, you will want it.

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: Handle the Heat

1 1/2 cups (6.6 oz) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (5.6 oz) bread flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups milk chocolate chips
36 caramel squares, unwrapped
fine sea salt for sprinkling

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk them together.

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer combine the butter and sugars. Beat with your electric mixer or the paddle attachment until creamy.

Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 24-72 hours.

Remove the dough from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Divide the dough into 36, 2 Tbsp size balls. (I actually did this part with a kitchen scale so mine were all even, but I'm a little weird when it comes to things being even.)

Flatten each ball of dough into a disc and wrap it around a caramel.

Roll it back to a ball shape and then flatten slightly for even baking. Place the pieces of dough in a single layer on a tray or plate and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough pieces about 3 inches apart on your lined baking sheets and sprinkle the tops with sea salt.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Serve warm with a large glass of milk. These are very rich cookies.

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