And the winner is . . . . me, of course! I am the self proclaimed winner of this year's cookie exchange.
Here's the recipe for Sarah's Famous Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (3 tsp of vanilla extract can also be used)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder such as Hershey's Special Dark
note: regular cocoa could also be used but then they would no longer be Sarah's Famous Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies they would be your 'regular ol' I'm too lazy to go to the store and get dark cocoa cookies'.
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons sea salt
48 chocolate covered caramel candies such as ROLO
Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla bean paste. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill at least 2 hrs.
Preheat over to 375 degrees
Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Press each piece of dough around ROLO and roll into a ball. Dip the tops gently in the sugar/sea salt mixture. Place sugar/salt side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven, rotating pan halfway at 4 minutes. When you take them from the oven there may be a lump from the ROLO. If so, gently tap it down with the back of a spoon. Let cool on baking sheet for at least 4 minutes, preferably longer, so the carmel doesn't come out of the bottom! If you do notice caramel coming out of the bottom when you take them off of the cookie sheet just flip them over, pat the caramel down and let them finish cooling upide down.
NOTES: I used vanilla bean paste but I think it may have been been a waste. The paste might be better suited to a vanilla cookie where you get to appreciate the specs of vanilla bean.
Also, I don't know how many dozen it took me to figure this out but the cookies baked on a dark, non-stick Air Bake cookie sheet came out much better than the ones cooked on a light, non-stick Wilton air bake cookie sheet. The majority of the cookies cooked on the light pan had the caramel come through the bottom. It was fine once cooled but not as pretty. The majority of cookies cooked on the dark pan did not have the caramel come through the bottom. Any ideas on why???