Monday, December 9, 2013

Caramel and Dark Chocolate Cookie Cups

Caramel and Dark Chocolate Cookie Cups 

A rich, buttery chocolate "cookie" filled with homemade salted caramel sauce and topped with chopped almonds and melted dark chocolate.  

What's not to love?  

This recipe was created by Lisa from Sweet As Sugar Cookies, my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club.  Have a sweet tooth?  Want to make some delicious, original desserts?  Head on over to Lisa's blog!  Her recipes do not disappoint.   I've "known" Lisa for years by following her blog...in fact I'm pretty sure she's the reason I joined SRC.  :)

Please forgive me for this picture-heavy post.  Get your scrolling/swiping finger ready.  This recipe was very fun to make and I enjoyed shooting almost every step.

Begin by "creaming" together the butter, coconut oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt.  (I swapped out a second stick of butter for the coconut oil.)

Until the mixture looks dreamy and fluffy...like this. 

Add an egg and the vanilla (the amount of which I doubled from Lisa's original recipe.)  Mix again. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and soda. 

 

Usually whisking dry ingredients does the trick of mixing them together fully, but today the cocoa powder was being stubborn and balling up.  So I sifted the whole sha-bang.

Showed them who's boss!

A lovely volcano crater of cocoa and flour.  

Gently mix the egg/butter/sugar mixture with the cocoa/flour mixture.  But for the love of all things good and decent, DON'T over mix it.  That will make your cookies hard as rocks.  
The dough is thick and will look about like this.

(And your pile of dirty dishes will look about like this.)

Now, grab a greased mini-muffin tin.  Fill each cup about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-11 minutes, JUST until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  They will still look a bit soft, but again, for the love of all things good and decent....DON'T overbake them.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, take a small spoon (or your thumb), and press down the center of each muffin, making a well.

Now refrigerate this whole thing for 30 minutes or so (then you can gently remove the cookie cups from the tin...use a knife to free each muffin's perimeter; they should slide right out).

Meanwhile, let's enter salted caramel-making-land, shall we?  [Please note: Lisa's original recipe involves employing jarred caramel sauce...easier than making your own like I'm about to do in the steps below.  But I have to tell ya---I wanted to do a face-plant in this stuff.  It was incredible (and the salted caramel recipe also came from Lisa's site.)]

Heat granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to melt and liquify. (This is organic sugar which is why it looks darker than regular granulated sugar.)

Here we go.

Keep whisking if that's working for you, or switch to a wooden spoon.  [I will tell you...some of these little sugar lumps would not dissolve and remained in the finished sauce.  Ask me if I cared. :)  The sauce was scrumptious and the lumps were undetectable in the finished cookie cups.]
 
After sugar has mostly melted, toss in the butter and stir well.

Lookin' good!  Then add the heavy cream, whisk like mad, remove pot from the heat, and allow it to cool down.

When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (makes clean-up a snap!), and spoon about a teaspoon of the caramel sauce into the well of each "cookie cup".

(You may end up with some leftover caramel sauce.  This hardly qualifies as a tragedy.  Eat it straight-up, pour it over ice cream, stir it into your coffee.)

Then sprinkle over some chopped almonds,

and top with melted dark chocolate. 

Bliss.

All the thanks goes to Lisa for this fabulous recipe!

Here's the printable recipe...

Caramel and Dark Chocolate Cookie Cups
(Makes about 26 "cookie cups")

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can substitute another stick of butter)
3/8 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped almonds, if desired

Salted Caramel Sauce/Filling:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cubed (if you're using unsalted butter, add about 1/8 teaspoon salt)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature 

Toppings:  
Melted dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
Chopped almonds (about 1/4 cup, chopped)

To prepare "cookie cup" batter:  in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, coconut oil, salt, and both sugars together for about 1 minute on high speed, or until the color has lightened and the mixture is fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla; mix again for about 30 seconds.  Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and baking soda to a separate mixing bowl.  Whisk well to combine.  If little balls of cocoa powder remain, sift the mixture into the egg/sugar/butter mixture.  Combine the flour and egg/butter mixture JUST UNTIL they are fully mixed (10 seconds or so).  Don't mix it too much, or the dough will be tough. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a mini-muffin tin.  Fill each cup about 3/4 full.  Bake for 10-11 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean.  (Do NOT overbake.)  Immediately press a well into the center of each mini-muffin using a small spoon or your thumb.  Refrigerate the tin for about 30 minutes.  Then run a knife around the perimeter of each mini-muffin and gently encourage them out of the pan.  (Be careful...they will be crumbly.)

While the muffins are chilling, make the salted caramel sauce:  Have the caramel sauce ingredients set out and ready to use.  Place the sugar in a saucepan set over medium to medium-high heat.  Whisk it--break up any sugar lumps--soon the sugar will begin to melt and liquify.  When it turns a dark amber color add the butter and keep whisking.  Once the butter is melted, add the heavy cream.  Keep whisking until smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding to cookie cups.  

Line a baking sheet or other flat work surface with parchment or waxed paper (this makes clean-up much simpler).    Lay the cookie cups out on the surface.  Use a teaspoon to generously fill each cookie cup with the caramel sauce (there will be some sauce left over...it's great on ice cream or in your coffee!).  Sprinkle chopped almonds over the caramel sauce.  Then, melt the chocolate, place it in a Zip-lock baggie with a tiny part of a corner snipped off, and zig-zag the chocolate over cookie cups.  

I prefer the cookie cups at room temperature, but you can also store them in the fridge.  

Recipe slightly modified from Lisa at Sweet As Sugar Cookies

13 comments:

Lisa said...

I am so glad you tried these out and liked them. I infinitely prefer them with homemade caramel sauce too. The jarred stuff doesn't cut it. Looking at yours makes me want to make them again!

Ginny said...

Thanks, Lisa! They are SO INCREDIBLY delicious. I'm going to make a double batch and give them as food gifts this Christmas. I'm so happy that I was assigned to your blog!

Rebekah said...

Seriously?????
I can hardly stand how fantastic these look. Homemade caramel has been a nemesis of mine....but I'm willing to give it a go again for these cookies. I'm pretty sure my life will not be complete until I try them. :)

Sara said...

These look so good - what an awesome cookie!

Elizabeth said...

This looks delicious- great SRC pick!v

Lesa said...

What pretty little desserts! Would be perfect for all those Christmas parties happening this time of year!

The Heritage Cook said...

I have a feeling that these will be making an appearance in my kitchen soon! I love the idea of subbing coconut oil for a portion of the butter, making them a bit better for us without sacrificing the flavor. Brilliant!

Anna Hagen said...

These look amazing!!!

chitchatchomp@yahoo.com.au said...

Oh my. You had me at home made caramel sauce!

Pola M said...

Can I have some of that caramel sauce? I almost licked the screen!

inquiringchef said...

Haha, Ginny - you made me smile with your cautionary words about overbaking these! Note taken - these look so amazing - and those photos are incredible!

Kate | Food Babbles said...

This look so decadently delicious!! WOW! I'm drooling.

Mary said...

Every time I see a blog that says "use the back of a spoon" or "use your thumb" to create a hole, I always wonder. "Am I the only person who uses a tart shaper to make holes in cookies and to shape tart dough? Incidentally, my wooden tart shaper is also a great chew toy until the baby actually cuts teeth.