Friday, April 7, 2017

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies

I traveled this week for a conference, and since I have been home, I’ve been very confused about what day of the week it is! I was in Texas, with record high heat, and came home to the Seattle area, where we have had record rainfall. While it was too hot for me in Texas, the sunny days were nice. If I were still in the sunny weather, I would pick something to bake that was more indicative of the spring season. But here are home, a chocolate decadent cookie seemed appropriate.

When I first came across this recipe, I thought I had all the ingredients except pretzels, which if worse came to worst, I could buy in the cafeteria at work. I had caramel bits on hand, and would normally substitute those for caramel squares, but upon closer inspection I realized that you molded the cookie dough around the caramel center. Otherwise you would have melted caramel bits all over your cookie sheet. You could try to mold the dough around several caramel bits, but that would be decidedly tricky.

I have made different cookies where you mold the dough around some sort of filling (Rolos, candy bars, etc.) and I have to say this is the first time that I had no blow outs due to exposed caramel filling! It takes a bit of patience to mold the dough around the caramels, as the dough has these awkward pretzels in them! There is plenty of dough, so I didn’t have much trouble in the end. You don’t want to bake these too long and make the caramel hard, so error on the side of under baked. I just decided 11 minutes was enough time and they were fine. These cookies are best when a bit warm and still gooey, but they are still tasty when cooled, too.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pretzels
1 cup chocolate chips
Kraft caramels, cut in half (about 24)
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the pretzel pieces and the chocolate chips. You may need to do the last bit of mixing by hand.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Place half of a caramel on the dough ball and work the dough around the caramel to seal the caramel in. Sprinkle the cookies with salt.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, until the cookies look set and are cracked along the top. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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