Saturday, July 02, 2005

Chocolate-Chunk Caramel Cookies

Could these be the best cookies ever? Possibly. They were very, very popular. Very popular.
Actually, there was nothing surprising about these cookies. They were just very tasty. Not earth shattering, but they had a quality that made you reach for a second right after you finished the first. They also left a pleasant caramel-y aftertaste behind.
I baked them as a graduation gift for my neighbor's daughter, who just finished high school. I left out the nuts because when you're taking something for a group of kids, I think it is better to be safe than to have to contend with nut allergies. The kids also didn't get actual chocolate chunks in the cookies, as I decided not to use my 71% Valrhona block of chocolate. They got stuck having Callebaut 56% chocolate chips. I'm sure they all cried themselves to sleep.
Just kidding. Those chocolate chips are fantastic!
The recipe is from Epicurious. I thought that it was a great way to use up some of the caramels I had lying around the house. It was tedious to chop up the caramels, but I followed the advice of other reviewers and coated the pieces in flour as I worked. I also made sure to use parchment paper to line my baking sheets. By letting the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, I allowed the caramel to re-solidify, making removal to the cooling rack very easy.
I also cut the baking time, so here's the recipe with my notes included.

Chocolate Chunk Caramel Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
6 ounces chocolate, chopped (or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips)
18-20 caramels, such as Kraft (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place 1 tablespoon of the flour into a small bowl. Chop each caramel into 6-8 pieces and lightly coat with the flour. Whisk together remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time. Don't worry if the batter separates, just keep beating until it becomes smooth. Stir in flour mixture, followed by caramels and chocolate chunks/chips until batter is uniform and no streaks of flour remain.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Cookies will spread, so allow at least 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until cookies are lighlty browned around the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If the cookies stick to the parchment, allow them to cool longer before moving them.
Makes about 4 dozen.