|Salted Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies from www.rachaelmakescakes.com.|
Is there anything more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie? I truly don't think there is. But the thing about chocolate chip cookies is this: you can't please everyone. While I know very few people who will refuse a chocolate chip cookie, everybody has an opinion about what makes the "PERFECT" cookie. It always divided my household: Mom likes cakey, puffy cookies. Dad likes them thin and crispy. My middle sister, who hates chocolate, only likes them if they have no chips and are just barely cooked. My youngest sister likes them with oatmeal. It's exhausting!
Fortunately, when you wield the whisk, you make the rules. And when I'm in charge, I'm all about the chewy chocolate chip cookie. I want one that's loaded with "stuff", under-baked, with just enough crunch around the outer edge. One that's so dense that it almost hurts your jaw. I also am partial to cookies with a crackly, crispy exterior that yields to a soft, gooey middle--and I make them very large, not just because I am lazy and want to roll as few cookies as possible, but also because I feel it is crucial to achieving that specific texture I love. I cook them on 375 for the same reason--it allows the outside to cook faster than the inside, which keeps the centers chewy and creates that crackly effect that I love so much.
If you know your popular chocolate chip cookie recipes, you will know that my recipe is kind of a hybrid of the techniques and ratios used in the most highly-rated recipes floating around, all of which I've tried and taken the elements that most spoke to me and used them to create my own ultimately chocolate chip cookie. Crisp yet soft, huge, and insanely perfect, they would certainly have been good enough kept plain and simple, but I decided to get fancy and bring sea salt and caramel to the party. The caramel bits, in addition to giving great flavor, added an extra chewy bite to the cookies, which is the kind of thing I flip over. The darker chocolate was a perfect foil to both the sweet caramel and the sea salt. I used browned butter instead of room temperature butter to create a more deeply-flavored dough and I added sea salt in and on top of the cookies for that perfect salty-sweet combination. What I particularly loved about these was the way the dark brown sugar and the browned butter came together to form a dough that had a buttery, toasty quality to it that makes the dough itself taste caramel-y.
These would be a great treat to enjoy alongside some hot chocolate during that snow that's headed our way later tonight, but I promise they'll taste just as good next to a palm tree. (Though I'm not going to pretend they'll do good things for your bikini body. Sorry.) Wherever you plan to enjoy these cookies, I hope they're a hit!
|Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies from www.rachaelmakescakes.com.|
Salted Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies
Time: 30 mintues
Yields: 16 large cookies
Note: Before baking, these will be very crumbly, almost like a shortbread dough. Just press them together or, if they're flat-out refusing to behave, add a tiny bit of cold water and knead the dough just until the cookies come together. Just in case there's not quite enough "stuff" in these cookies already, if you're into toasted pecans, I think they would be phenomenal in here. Also, unless you have some magic un-sticking power, which I was not lucky enough to be born with, use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for these cookies. There's nothing more heartbreaking than not being able to get your cookies off the tray, but, with the caramel, that will be your fate without parchment!
- 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
- 1 C dark brown sugar
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 2 C semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- 3 C caramel bits, or chopped caramels
- Heat a small saute pan over medium heat.
- Brown your butter: add butter to skillet. Melt butter, whisking frequently. As the butter cooks, it will foam up. Take care that the solids on the bottom of the pan do not turn black, but stop darken at a nice, dark brown. You will probably have to push the foam aside to get a clear view of the bottom of the pan. Once butter solids are browned and the melted butter is amber in color, turn off the heat and allow to cool before proceeding.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine both sugars and cooled butter in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and mix well. Add vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add to the egg/butter/sugar/vanilla mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in caramel bits and chocolate.
- Scoop dough into 1/4 C balls and roll gently between your palms, careful not to compress dough too much, until smooth. Bake on a parchment-lined sheets, 15-17 minutes, or until edges and crispy and center is set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional sea salt. Let sit for 5 minutes then move to cooling rack. Allow to cool entirely before enjoying.