Thursday, March 11, 2010

Favorite Flavor Combination

This cookie is fabulous and worth the time you will spend making it. It belongs in my “fussy” cookie category. When holiday time rolls around and I’m asking my family which cookies they would like on the baking list, this one always gets mentioned by both DH and Bella. Chocolate and caramel come right behind chocolate and raisins on DH’s list of favorite flavor combinations. The combined flavors of dark chocolate and caramel are sublime. Add toasted pecans and this cookie moves into divinity. The texture of the cookie, the chewy richness of the caramel and the deep flavor of the dark chocolate all conspire to destroy any resolve to eat just one!

Chocolate Caramel Delights

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

½ c. pecans

14 oz. pkg. caramels

2 Tbsp. milk

3 oz. Bittersweet chocolate

1 Tbsp. shortening

Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the insert. Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently to combine and smooth.

Measure the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour the chocolate and butter mixture over and stir to combine. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. When well combined, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350. Place pecans on a baking sheet with sides and toast in the oven 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Do not let them burn. When cool, finely chop and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in the top of a double boiler. Add the milk. Over simmering water heat the caramels until melted. Stir frequently to smooth and blend in the milk. When melted and smooth turn burner to low and keep warm.

When the dough is chilled, use a 1 Tbsp scoop to measure out dough. Shape into balls, and roll in the chopped pecans. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation in the balls. Use your fingers to support the sides of the ball as you make the indentation. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the cookie is set. Remove from the oven and immediately reimpress the indentation. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Place wax paper under the wire racks. With a small spoon fill the indentation with about 1 teaspoonful of caramel.

While the caramel sets, place the chocolate and shortening in the top of adouble boiler over simmering water. Stir to smooth and combine. When melted drizzle over the caramel. Cool completely.

When cooled and set, layer cookies in an airtight container separated by wax paper. Store in a cool, dry place.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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