The Great Cookie Caper: Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies

As some of you know, I’m embarking on a cookie adventure for the next couple months. A lot of you have sent me your favorite recipes (though I still want more!), and this one was one of the first that floated in. My friend Clara is still in middle school, but she is one of the most gifted bakers I know. People from Raleigh to Jackson rave about her cakes and pies, so I was really excited when she shared this with me. I’ll check and see if she’s available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and graduations, but we should probably ask her dad.

The caramel and chocolates are in hiding, but trust.
The caramel and chocolates are in hiding, but trust.

These cookies incorporate my favorite thing: salted caramel. I never, ever saw salted caramel anywhere before 5 or 10 years ago, and now they’re everywhere. I am in no way upset about this development. These cookies are only a little bit tricky, but you absolutely much chill them for the requisite amount of time or they’re not going to turn out. Consider yourself warned.

Look! A packaged thing!
Look! A packaged thing!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch or two

2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed tight

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup milk chocolate chunks or chips

¾ cup caramel, in medium cubes

Mix your first three ingredients. You can do this in the bowl of a stand mixer, but mine was in the dishwasher, so I just did it by hand.

Boring pic alert: Here are some mixed-up dry ingredients.
Boring pic alert: Here are some mixed-up dry ingredients.

Get the butter in there until your dough resembles a course meal. Gradually beat in the sugar, then one egg at a time, then the vanilla. You should have the general consistency of a sugar cookie dough at this point.

Maybe you're unfamiliar with sugar cookies, but it should be viscous and off-white.
Maybe you’re unfamiliar with sugar cookies, but it should be viscous and off-white.

Add in your chocolate chips.

Now, a word on things that come in packages. Longtime blog readers or real-life friends of mine will know that I do not advocate consuming anything that comes in a package ever. I make my own ketchup, for chrissakes. THAT SAID. Making caramels is really time intensive. I make them every Christmas and they. are. awesome. For the purposes of this recipe, though, where the caramels are nice but not stand-alone, I’m writing you a one-use pass to use the pre-made caramels from the store. Take it.

Chunks are too big! This is why things from stores are not acceptable!
Chunks are too big! This is why things from stores are not acceptable!

Unwrap them.

Slice them into little pieces. Toss a pinch of salt in.

Maybe the size of your pinkie nail?
Maybe the size of your pinkie nail?

Melt them in your microwave (or stove, who cares) in 20 second increments until it’s a little caramel sauce.

This is thicker than caramel sauce and only sort of a liquid.
This is thicker than caramel sauce and only sort of a liquid.

Blend that into the dough, then chill the dough for 2 or so hours or overnight, whichever appeals to you and your particular needs.

After everything is good and chilly, drop them onto greased cookie sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Give them a wide berth: they expand substantially. Scrape them off and let them cool on wire racks for about 20 minutes.

Thanks for this awesome recipe, Clara! I really appreciate it. Stay tuned next week for some more cookies from friends, and share your favorites with me either in the comments or via email.

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