Double Chocolate Caramel Cookies (SALTED)
*Recipe follows story
When I received the Easy Bake Oven, as a gift, when I was a tiny Tina, I was ecstatic.
Somewhere between the Easy Bake oven and adolescence, I could give a shit about baking. I wanted to eat stuff, not make it.
Somewhere between the end of college and working at Sundance Channel, my love for baking came back like Don Juan on a giant horse riding victoriously through windmills and shit. I was in love. I was having fun with flour and sugar and making a mess in my kitchen.
In the midst of baking, I found cooking. I wanted to cook everything that reminded me of my grandmother and this became my plight for a while, as my grandmother wasn’t much of a baker. I mentioned it before, my mom has baker’s blood. When I was growing up my mom worked in a bakery, and I always thought she should’ve been in the back baking, not in the front selling. I thought she had a talent she could make money from that extended beyond her ability to be super nice to strangers, call them dear- even when they were bastards - all while lifting trays of pastry over her head. Every evening, she used to come home with the most exhausted look on her face - but smiling - and with loaves of bread and cookies in brown paper bags wrapped in plastic. I saw those bags and knew there was something in there to enjoy with tea and milk before bed. But the best part, aside from having her back home and knowing tea time was ahead, was when I hugged her. I would wrap my arms around her, tightly, pressing my face against the right side of her chest where her shirt was embossed John’s Bakery. I would breathe in, deeply, and take in her smell. She smelled like bakery. Nothing beats the smell of bakery and the smell of bakery and sweets on your own mom - that’s the closest you can get to comfort and heaven on earth. I’d let go, wishing I could take away how tired she was and wondering when she would stop. I still think the same thing every time I see her.
My first apartment out of college turned out to be 2 blocks from the bakery, and every morning on my way to work I’d stop by, chat with my mom, the bakers and the other girls who worked the front, get a coffee and head to work.
I’ve been making an effort to remember these moments with my mom, and our life in Brooklyn, and I’m making peace with my inner baker. Good news, folks, I’m back in love with her. She’s buttery, sometimes chocolatey, sometimes salty and always delicious. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m super proud of my baking prowess as of late.
So, I’m going to try my hand at the cookie, again, after my last shortbread cookie success. My baking explorations have been in the realm of cakes, crisps,loaves, bundts, mini-pound cakes, muffins, custards, scones and one bake wonders in the form of the brownie.
I’m ready to go full throttle cookie and Sunday’s caramel making expedition was the first part to constructing today’s nom nom.
I just saw myself surfing on a baking sheet and it made me excited.
I just ate way too many of these on my way to bed and I’m more wound up than a tinker toy, so you’ve been warned.
And, just a prelude to some other baked goods I plan to conquer (from scratch) - here’s what you’re in for:
-The Pie Shell
Enough of that shit, though, here are the cookies that make me want to stay up all night and date myself. Chocolate Riesen and Werther’s Original, hiding in the bottom of my mom’s purse, meet your cookie companion…
Double Chocolate Caramel Cookies
*yields about 40 cookies
*I referenced a recipe from Chow.com, but made quite a few changes in proportions, method and timing so the cookies would be fudgier and have a deadly chocolate taste.
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 c. melted in microwave or over the stove, the other cup should be reserved)
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 T. @ room temperature)
2/3 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
20 Caramels (*if you want some added fun and stickiness in your life, I highly suggest you make you make these from scratch)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Melt 1 c. of chocolate chips and put aside, reserving the other half of the chips
-Cream butter and sugar, until light a fluffy, add vanilla and eggs one at a time
-Add melted chocolate to the butter/sugar/egg mixture
-Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and gently incorporate dry ingredients into the wet
-Once dough is formed, fold in the remainder of the chocolate chips
-Spoon dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, press down in the center, sprinkle with salt and bake for 5 minutes
-Put cookies aside and then position your soft and chewy caramel in the middle of the cookie