I will admit there is nothing better than a Chocolate Covered Caramel. Since I'm a Judge at this year's San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, I got to taste quite a few.
Confections by Kay Dillon (San Francisco) has a lovely flat caramel covered with a nice Dark chocolate caramel with sea salt that I adored. She is the driving force behind the success of Beaux Gateaux Wedding Cakes and is now making confections. I got to hear her at the Commonwealth Club chocolate panel last Fall. So happy to taste this fabulous caramel again (with sea salt, of course). Her Coconess (Menlo Park) submitted Pink Flake Salt Caramels that incorporated Murray River pink flake salt. Yum! These caramels won Best Comfort Chocolate Product. Vice Chocolates (Oakland), another local company I've written about before, had a fantastic Truffle Caramel. Sometimes I like my caramels firm, sometimes more chewy, and I must admit, there were lots of chocolate caramels to choose from for the judging.
I wrote about Goobers awhile back as one of my favorite movie candies...well Milk Duds is another. I would prefer if the manufacturer used dark chocolate, but I wouldn't pass on these. Goobers, Raisinets and Milk Duds sustained me during many movie marathons. Milk Duds would work well in the following recipe if you make small cookies, but as I always say, the better the products, the better the results. There are a lot of more mass produced chocolate caramels that are quite good. Love to hear which ones you choose.
So today is National Chocolate Caramel Day, and I thought I should give a recipe--not for lovely chocolate caramel truffles and candy, but cookies that include them. This recipe has chocolate cookie dough wrapped around chocolate covered caramels. Depending on the caramels you use, you can size the cookies. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com. It's almost a sacrilege to use the lovely chocolate covered caramels from local artisans in this recipe, but if you want to make it all, here's Martha's recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate Caramels. Then all you have to do is wrap them in the cookies. Of course, you'll need lots more time!
Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (Madagascar)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Scharffen Berger)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional for me)
1 tablespoon white sugar
48 chocolate-covered caramel candies (small ones) or artisan chocolate covered caramels and adjust size of cookies
1. Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Combine remaining 1/2 cup nuts with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Divide the dough into 4 parts (depending on size of cookies you're making). Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 or less pieces. Quickly press each piece of dough around a chocolate covered caramel. Roll into a ball. Dip the tops into the sugar mixture. Place sugar side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
4. Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.