day seventeen :: guest post :: salted caramel hot chocolate cookies
Today’s post comes from a fantastic baker named Christen who is one of those people who you love (and hate) to invite to parties. She’s the one who shows up with some kind of glorious baked brie creation and totally overshadows your crock-pot velveeta cheese dip but your mouth is so full of delicious brie that you don’t even notice. Or care. I love her baking. And her. And her cute little baby. But mostly her baking. So I
demanded threatened sweet-talked her into writing up a great recipe for me. Enjoy!
I Bought Out Ghirardelli Square
Every year I look forward to cold weather for one reason… hot chocolate! A few years ago Starbucks came out with a salted caramel hot chocolate and I fell in love. Needless to say, when I came across a recipe for hot cocoa cookies, I knew that I needed to combine my love for baking with my beloved Starbucks I started by picking out my ingredients. I am a bit of a snob when it comes to what I put in my baked goods. My pantry is always stocked with a myriad of flours, sugars and chocolates. I always use unbleached, organic all purpose flour when baking cookies. When I can find it, I use castor sugar or baker’s sugar. This sugar is very fine and it is perfect for baking. I keep it stored in an airtight container and anytime I use a vanilla bean I put the used pod into my container of sugar. This way my sugar always has a delightful aroma and delicate vanilla taste. Next lets talk about chocolate… oh how I love chocolate.
If you don’t care about using fancy flours and sugars that’s ok. However, I believe that you should never skimp on the quality of chocolate that you use. When examining my pantry for the first time, a person might think that I went to San Francisco and bought out the Ghirardelli Square. While I actually have tried to buy everything in a Ghirardelli store before, (my husband always stops me and makes me put it all back) everything I bake with can be found at the local supermarket. For this recipe I used the semisweet mini chips that Ghirardelli puts out for the holiday season. I found that they melt quickly which was useful because this recipe calls for melting a lot of chocolate. For my cocoa powder needs, I usually turn to Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate. I even decided to get fancy with my salt with this recipe. Honestly, sea salt will work just fine but I have a large collection of salts from around the world that my husband gave me so I decided to try the Peruvian pink mountain spring salt. The cookie ended up being everything that I envisioned and more. Several cookies didn’t make it to the cooling rack. This soft, brownie like cookie is topped with a fudgy ganache, drizzled with ooey-gooey caramel. Then, as a finishing touch, it is sprinkled with salt. Here is how I made it… Enjoy!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Hot Cocoa Cookie recipe on http://www.rachaelraymag.com
• 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
• 20 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips, divided
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
• 3 eggs, at room temperature
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 14 ounces of caramel squares, unwrapped
• Large grain salt
1.In a microwave-safe bowl melt butter. Pour 12 ounces of the semisweet chocolate into the melted butter and let sit for 2 minutes. Mix gently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Microwave for 30 second intervals if needed. Let cool for 15 minutes.
2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3.Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla at low speed until smooth. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. (If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.)
4.Position a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange about 16 balls 2 inches apart on each cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, place the remaining 10 ounces of chocolate into a medium glass bowl. Place the caramels into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the heavy cream for a minute and a half in a microwave safe bowl. Pour ½ cup of the heated cream into the bowl with the chocolate and the other ½ cup of cream into the bowl with the caramels. Allow the chocolate mixture to sit for 3 minutes and then gently stir until the cream and chocolate are fully incorporated and the mixer is smooth. Gently stir the caramel mixture using a metal whisk until smooth. Microwave in 30 second intervals if needed to fully melt the caramel.
6. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven; gently make an indentation on the top of each cookie using the back of a spoon. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 5 minutes; place a dollop of the chocolate mixture in the indentation of each cookie. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cookies and sprinkle with salt. Transfer the cookies, on the parchment paper, to the racks; let cool. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, chocolate and caramel. Bake each batch on a clean sheet of parchment.