Thursday, January 6, 2011

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

I found a recipe for Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies on Pioneer Woman during Cookie Week.... Which was like a month ago. Feeling very sophisticated for wanting to try something with salted caramel I printed it immediately with plans to make them along with other Christmas treats. Then Christmas flew right by and I thought, "Great! I'll make them for New Years." And then New Years happened and I thought, "Who needs an occasion to make cookies? I'll make them now!"

So I did. Which led me to the following epiphany: Salt + Sugar = Yum.

I love that this recipe has 8 ingredients. Seriously. And most of them are already in your cupboard. You could probably walk into your kitchen and make this recipe right now... If you're the kind of person who keeps heavy whipping cream on hand and keeps butter at room temperature for just such occasions.

No? Me neither.

Salted Caramel Thumprint Cookies


1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Sea Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and then the salt into the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board (I used an average size cutting board) and roll together into a flat square. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. 

3. After 30 minutes, take the dough out and roll it into about 18 walnut-sized balls of dough. (That's another thing I like about this recipe... It only makes 1 dozen and a half cookies.) Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and take your thumb or knuckle and make an indentation the in middle of each cookie. You want to make the dents as deep as you can without breaking the bottom of the cookie - then they'll hold more caramel, and everybody wins.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re just a little golden brown on the sides. Let them cool. While they’re cooling, make the caramel.

4. Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in the microwave just until warm (30 secs-1 min).

5. Once the sugar is dark, remove the pan from the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined, then add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously. (Now, my caramel turned out a little thinner than I would have expected, and I think it was because my whisking was not sufficiently vigorous... Just a warning.)
6. By now your cookies should be cooled. Spoon a teaspoon of warm caramel into the indentations of your cookies and top with sea salt. You can eat right away (the caramel will be goopy and wonderful), or let sit for so that the caramel has a chance to firm up, 2 hours or so.

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