As far as the flavor combination, I first fell in love with caramel and chocolate together, with a hint of sea salt, while living in the Pacific Northwest. Fran's Chocolates is a Seattle landmark and her chocolate-covered caramel is a favorite of mine, my daughters, and thousands of people who know these confections. It's just one of the things I miss, although you can order-on-line.
My other inspiration was a new sugar that King Arthur Flour has come out with...Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar. Rolling the "thumbprint" cookies in it before baking certainly gave it that taste I miss with Fran's caramels. And, just to make them a little more decadent, I added a bag of Health Toffee Bits; that one was for Kelly because that was her favorite candy bar:-D
Frightfully Decadent Salty Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. (approx. 3/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips melted and slightly cooled
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Cocoa Rouge (or Dutch-processed cocoa)
1-8 oz. bag of Health Toffee Bits
Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar
1 bag of Kraft caramels (you'll only use about 1/2 bag) cut in half
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted with 1 tsp. shortening
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugars and cream to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed, with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium to combine.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the batter, along with the toffee bits. Mix on low to combine. Place about 3 tablespoons of Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar in a bowl or dish. Scoop up the dough and roll in the sugar. Place the cookie balls on the parchment-lined sheets and use your thumbprint to indent the center. Add one-half piece of caramel.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 7-10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. This is why two sheets are convenient; you can have one baking and one cooling!
Prepare drizzle by melted the bittersweet chocolate and shortening together. Transfer to a small pastry bag, or a small plastic bottle. Drizzle the chocolate over the almost cooled cookies and allow to set about an hour.
Now, the winner of August's Apron is Brenda! Please email me your address and I'll get this out to you ASAP! Congratulations:-D
I am sewing September's Apron today and will have it up tomorrow; stay tune.