Cookies are what I make at 10PM when I'm really wanting something sweet to snack on. (It's normal to want to bake late at night, right?) They're my go-to dessert to bake for birthdays, to bring in to work, or to make just for the hell of it.
Baking and I have a love/hate relationship. If you use too much of one thing, your cookies are crisp and fried, but adding only a bit of another will make them rise perfectly. It's essentially a chemistry experiment. So if you want your cookies to look or taste a certain way, then you're going to have to know the science behind baking them.
And in all honesty, I really need to take my own advice. For the batch I was baking this past week, the plan was to show you these sea salt cookies that are thick, soft, and fantastic. I even went so far as to add in caramel; ignoring the wet dough sticking to my fingers as I rolled them onto the baking sheet.
I even rolled them higher than they were wide to give them that extra slow bake.
But they didn't rise. At all. Each one was a pancake. How is that even possible? I've made this recipe 3 times in the past week (don't judge me...) and they came out SO great!
Well, it turns out I needed to learn more about the most important and fickle ingredient in cookies; butter. After doing some digging, I discovered that softening butter is not as cookie cutter (pun intended) as I thought. Just because you leave butter out for a few hours to soften doesn't mean you'll end up with the perfect cookie. You run the risk of the butter melting too quickly, so it's best to have it slightly chilled.
Creaming butter separate from sugar right off the bat gives it a chance to form air pockets for the sugar to go into. Never go above a medium speed while using a mixer though, because the mixer will heat up and melt it as well. I know; there are so many steps and precautions that seem silly at first, but once you make that perfect batch, you'll get what I'm saying.
My best advice for dough that's too wet, is to always have flour standing by. If the dough is sludgy, add more flour. Sticking to your fingers? Add more flour. Not molding into the shape you want? Well, you get the idea.
The one on the left was lacking the amount of flour necessary to give it such lift. I know everyone has a preference when it comes to cookies, but as far as my favorites go, I like more volume, as opposed to crispy edges. Not to mention you can taste a really fluffy texture after it's added. So "take two" is a winner in my book.
I ended up making these for my coworkers going away party this past week and EVERYONE was raving about them. We had a huge pile of goodies for the bash, and somehow all of the cookies disappeared faster than anything else. Caramel and chocolate are a for sure win people. Trust me on this one.
Also. Let's just talk about caramel for a minute.
I'm sure you guys have all sorts of cookie tips so PLEASE feel free to share! I'd love to hear all about them and give them a shot!
Until next time friends!
Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies
Yields approximately 24 cookies (depending on if you can resist eating any of the batter).
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
5 oz. bag of soft chew caramels (unwrap them all beforehand and keep in fridge until right before use)
optional sea salt for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lay parchment paper on 2 cookie sheet pans and set aside.
1. In stand mixer, or with handheld on medium speed, beat butter then add in all sugars and mix until fluffy. Then pour in eggs and vanilla.
2. Sift in all dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined evenly. Pick up a piece of dough and if you can roll it in a ball without it sticking to your fingertips, it's time to add the chocolate chips and caramel. If not, continue to sift in small amounts of flour (I usually do about 1/4 cup more at a time) until it's easy to roll.
3. Pour candy in and stir by hand with a wooden spoon, spatula, or whatever you might have nearby. Once combined, roll them into tall cylinders as shown above in the first photo and place on parchment paper, making sure no caramel is exposed. (If you would like to sprinkle sea salt on your cookie, now is the time.)
4. Set pans in oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies just start to brown. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.