Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Cookies

I think salt is one of the most under-appreciated ingredients in baking. It serves several purposes in recipes — but its most magical function is its ability to enhance the depth and flavour of the other ingredients in your mixing bowl. Salt is especially important in sugar-heavy recipes, such as frostings, because it really helps to balance the sweetness; I almost exclusively use salted butter when making icing for my cupcakes. I also like to sprinkle a little sea salt on my chocolate chip cookies. It’s amazing how the sea salt flakes make all the other flavours pop. These Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate cookies use salted butter and are sprinkled with a finishing touch of sea salt flakes. Don’t worry about ending up with a too salty cookie; the sea salt flakes are quite delicate and really enhance the sweetness of the caramel and smoky dark chocolate.

 Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel bits
  • Maldon or sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir together until almost fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and caramel bits and stir until blended.
  5. Shape spoonfuls of dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. You can press a few chocolate chips and caramel bits into the top of each cookie — it just makes them look prettier. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the cookie dough balls.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Don’t overbake if you want them to be soft and chewy!

*Yield: Approximately 20-22 cookies

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Fig, Walnut & Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This is a classed-up version of my  Big and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. The chopped up figs practically melt into these cookies as they bake, creating a sticky sweetness that pairs beautifully with the smoky molasses. The addition of dark chocolate adds even more sophistication to an otherwise humble cookie, while the walnuts add texture and crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray baking sheets with non-stick spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla and molasses. Mix until combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the oats, figs, walnuts and chocolate.
  7. Roll generous 1/4 cup measures of dough into balls (you can use a medium- sized ice cream scoop for this.) Place two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. You can press a few chocolate chunks into the tops of the cookies before baking — it makes them look prettier.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

*Yield: Approximately 18 large cookies

 


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cookies aka “Terry the Berry” Cookies

The inspiration for these comes from my cousin Terry, who texted me one day wondering if I happened to have a recipe for cookies made with dark chocolate and raspberries.  I didn’t — but I was game.  The issue I’ve had in the past with cookies made with fresh berries is that the fruit tends to bleed out too much liquid and often results in a big mess — or mediocre, soggy cookies.  But after some research, I’ve found that some experienced bakers use frozen berries instead of fresh in their drop cookie recipes.  I decided to give it a try.  It worked.  These Dark Chocolate Raspberry cookies are dense and decadent.  They’re named after my cousin whose nickname in the family is “Terry the Berry.”  I have no idea why we call her that.  She’s also known as “Terry Next Door, ” because, well, she used to live next door. We’re really not that creative.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, corn syrup and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks and the raspberries.
  7. Roll dough into balls and place about two inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

*Yield: Approximately 24 cookies

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I took a plate of these cookies to a PPO meeting at my kids’ school. Jason and Julia couldn’t keep their hands off them. They must be good.