Thursday, November 4, 2010

Salted Caramel Cookies

I made these awhile back for a Labor Day party and they were a big hit...actually a super, huge, mega hit.  Sweet and salty, these cookies have it all!  I'm going to be making them for Thanksgiving this year at my Mom's per her request and thought I'd post the recipe for any of you who'd like to do the same.

As a warning, these aren't the easiest cookie to make.  They are however, worth every minute of work.  They are time consuming but the cookie bases can be made in advance and frozen until you need them.  I used jarred dulce de leche for the fillings rather than attempt potentially explosive sugar mixtures on my own.  Lastly, when it comes to the cookie bases, the refrigerator is your best friend!  Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Cookies
adapted from a recipe by More Magazine

Makes 28 cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup jarred dulce de leche or other thick caramel filling
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling ( I used regular old sea salt and stayed away from the smoked and flavored varieties)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. With a mixer, cream together butter, sugar and salt until fluffy and light, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, and mix until just incorporated. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Generously flour a sheet of parchment paper. Place one disk in center, and dust the top and a rolling pin with flour. Working quickly, roll dough into a thickness just shy of a quarter inch. Slide onto baking sheet, and chill again. Do not skip this step - trust me.  Repeat process with second ball of dough.

4. I used two fluted, round cookie cutters: 1 larger (about 1½ inches) and 1 smaller (about 1 inch). Flour both cookie cutters and using the larger cutter, cut half of the dough for the bottoms of the cookies. Lift off excess dough to chill, and reroll for more cookies. Re-chill cut cookie bottoms.

5. For cookie tops, use the large cutter on the second half of dough. Then, using the smaller cutter, place in the center of each top to form a hole for the caramel to show through. Re-chill.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and place cookies 1 inch apart. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes, until just set. Do not brown.

7. Transfer cookies to a rack, and let cool completely. Spread bottom cookies with caramel. Cover with tops. Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt.