Caramel Filled Dark Chocolate Cookies / by Chelsea Zwieg

Caramel filled things are some of my favorite things. Rolos, anything turtle related, THESE COOKIES. I don't think I realized how much I wanted caramel inside of my cookies until I pulled these out of the oven and could not stop eating them/pulling them apart so I could take gooey, stringy, caramel pictures. Seriously, these photos are whittled down from like 500. Not really 500. But a lot. That is also partly because my finger or my nose or some other part of my face that I am not even aware of changed the image size setting on my camera part way through which I did not realize until I uploaded a whole bunch of the lowest resolution pictures I have ever seen. But I wasn't even mad about it because I was simultaneously stuffing caramel stuffed cookies into my mouth. Ok, maybe I was still a little mad. But I rewarmed them up, re pulled the apart, re shot them and they were just as gooey, stringy and caramely as ever. Crisis averted. 

Maybe you're not so interested in my camera problems but are more so interested in how to get as much caramel as possible in the darkest, richest chocolate cookie you will ever make. Well. Let me tell you. 

These cookies are made with dutch processed cocoa powder. This provides MEGA chocolate flavor but also gives the cookies a super dark color which makes the caramel rivers flowing out of that much more stunning. As for the caramel, I just used store bought caramel squares which I'm pretty sure were created for this very purpose. No need to make your own caramel (unless you are a cookie overachiever. In which case, I like you already). When you get to shaping the cookies, just be sure to completely seal in the caramel. If there are any cracks or holes, the caramel will leak out of it in the oven. 

I also stuck a few chocolate chips in the top of each cookie. I didn't want to mix them in because some of them were bound to melt together with the caramel and make chocolate/caramel centers which isn't a bad thing. Just not the thing I was going for. You can also skip the chocolate chips completely if that doesn't thrill you and go for a little sprinkling of sea salt. Or a caramel drizzle. Or both! Oh my goodness. 

Caramel Filled Dark Chocolate Cookies

Note: I used dutch process cocoa in these cookies because I love the dark color contrasting with the caramel. However, dutch process cocoa needs baking powder in order to react and create the typical cookie consistency. However, I used baking soda which makes these cookies have a more crumbly texture almost like an oreo, which I love love love. The only downside is, they do dry out faster than normal cookies. Oh well, guess you just have to eat them that much faster. 

| Ingredients | 

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark etc.) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 12-15 caramels (I used these

| Instructions

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. 

Scoop the dough into balls using a large cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measure. Flatten each ball, making a well in the center. Place a caramel in each well and press the cookie dough up around it to seal it in. Reshape the cookie so that it is smooth all around and flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Press chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies. Chill shaped cookies for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Arrange cookies on the trays, leaving several inches between each. Bake 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are beginning to crackle slightly around the edges, but the center is still soft. It can be a little tricky to determine if they are done, since the cookies are so dark, but I found the perfect time in my oven to be 13 minutes. If you chill them longer, I would guess it to be around 15. Let cool on trays.