Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies

05bSaltedCaramelCookiesRackbfLONice cookie!

And, a nice riff on the more usual, jam-filled thumbprint cookie; with a thin crushed pretzel coating, a melted caramel oozing out of the center, and a final dusting a sea salt sprinkled over the still-warm cookies as they come out of the oven.

They’re also not too, too terrible given a good whack! with your kitchen mallet and sprinkled over ice cream with a bit of chocolate drizzled over, just, because.

01aPretzelChipsCaramelbfLOThe original recipe, from the nice folk at Dash magazine, called for using their own sugar cookie dough and chopped peanuts and pretzels. Well, I had my own cookie dough recipe, and a past experience with smashing pretzels to wrap around cookies that I found ok, but less than fully satisfying; so this time, thought I’d try pretzel crisps, which worked a treat!

01bPretzelChipsProcessorbfLOI also normally focus on nut-free treats, just in case one of our allergic friends drops by in desperate need of a sweet nibble, so I left the peanuts out entirely.

Cookie Dough:
•3 cups flour
•3/4 tsp baking powder
•1/4 tsp salt
01cPretzelChipsCrushedbfLO•1 cup butter, softened
•1 cup sugar
•1 egg, beaten
•1 tbsp milk
•1 tsp vanilla

The Salted Caramel Bit:
•1 (7.2 oz) package original Pretzel Crisps
•18 Chewy caramels, cut in half
•1 (or 2) egg white, beaten

•Sea salt flakes (I used Maldon)

02aCaramelsHalvedbfLOFirst, tumble the package of Pretzel Crisps into the food processor, fitted with the metal blade, then pulse until they are nicely crushed. Just as when I used pretzel sticks, there will be some bigger bits left in the bowl, but they’ll be flatter and I think will work better coating a cookie or three dozen.

Transfer the crushed pretzels to a shallow bowl and set aside.

Slice the caramels in have – the original recipe didn’t really specify how, so I just sliced on the diagonal and set them aside.

03aButterSugarCreambfLONote 1: the dash cookie recipe was very close to mine, but added an extra 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter and another half cup of sugar. Add them if you like. Couldn’t hurt, and ’tis the season for excess!

Whisk the flour together with the salt and the baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the softened butter with the sugar until creamy, then add the egg, milk, vanilla, and flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together.

03DoughTbspMeasurebfLONote 2: The dash folk recommend wrapping the dough in waxed paper and chilling it for a few hours, but with a cookie scoop and this particular cookie type, I find this step unnecessary.

04aCookiesReadyToBakebfLOHeat your oven to 375° and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. I got 36 cookies out of this batch and fit a dozen cookies on each of my pans – but – I like to bake one pan at a time, so prepare a dozen cookies, then pop ’em into the oven and set up the next pan while they’re baking. Once the first batch is done, I pop the second pan into the oven, transfer the cooked treats to a rack to cool, then have the first pan reloaded with the next dozen cookies and ready for the oven by the time the second batch is done.

Lightly whip your egg white (I needed to use two) in a small bowl and set next to the bowl of crushed pretzel crisps.

05aSaltedCaramelCookiesbfLOScoop out a ball of cookie dough (I used a one tablespoon scoop), firm up the shape a bit in your hands, then dip in the egg white and roll in the crushed pretzels.

Place the coated dough ball on your prepared baking sheet, press down in the center with your thumb to flatten it and make a well in the center. Place a caramel half in the well and repeat until your sheet is full – a dozen fit nicely on my cookie sheets.

Bake for about 20 minutes, just until the cookies are browned on the edges, then remove from the oven, sprinkle with the sea salt flakes, and transfer to a rack to cool.

To be honest, these were not among Rich’s favorite of cookies, but, I’ll just have to agree that he is wrong on this.

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