Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

in Cookies, Desserts

I’m a huge window shopper. And the internet is the epicenter of window shopping for me. One of my favorite things to do is go to a few of my favorite stores (here and here) and put, like, thousands of dollars of clothes, bags, belts into a checkout cart. And then….I simply click out and move on with my day.  It’s almost as if I get the pleasure of shopping without any of the guilt. I truly recommend everyone give it a whirl–it’ll make your mind clearer and your soul feel full.

I also do the same thing with food. A few hours before lunch when I’m a little hungry, I click over to Foodgawker and start clicking away, drooling and dreaming about my next meal, only to be disappointed with the lackluster options near my work. Ugh. But I think some of my most awesome food ideas come from straight starvation.

Like these cute little cookies…I wanted to make cookies for you guys; I started staring at Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Doughnuts and I got the brainiac idea that Salted Caramel Cookies would also be amazing. I think I was right.

The base of these cookies are a basic, shortbread cookie. I was actually a little surprised by them because instead of being just flaky and easily breakable, they’re in fact a little chewy and moist–totally fantastic.  I whipped up some caramel, filled the little thumbprint with the stuff, topped it with some fancy schmancy sea salt, and voila! Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.

Now, I do realize that caramel stresses people out. Actually, everytime I make it I stress out a little bit. But I have a few tips that have made my life easier.

#1- Get all your ingredients together before you start cooking your sugar. The process goes fast.

#2- Warm your heavy cream just a little, this will stop it from seizing once it hits the hot, cooked sugar.

#3 – Wear long sleeves. Hot sugar can burn the heck out of you so be careful.

If you keep those little tid-bits in mind, then you should be fan-freakintastic.

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

Shortbread Cookie recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Caramel recipe taken from Salted Caramel Mousse by Trish Desseine

Print this recipe!

Cookies:

1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Caramel:

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat square. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take out the fridge and cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Hold the cookie steady with one hand and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.  Note: I actually poked a hole using my knuckle (from my index finger) since I have nails. I also kind of molded them a little just to make sure they were purdy. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re just a little golden brown on the sides. Let them cool. While they’re cooling, make the caramel.

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar.  While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.

Take off the heat and add your room temperature butter.  Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously.

By now your cookies should be cooled.  Spoon a teaspoon of warm caramel into the indentations of your cookies and top with sea salt. You can eat right away (the caramel will be goopy and wonderful), or let sit for 2 hours so the caramel sets. Fancy and fantastic!

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