This was the product of a happy accident! I've missed playing around with recipes and leaving room for experimentation. It's the second week of school, and I miss the summer holidays already. It's been a rather productive summer - a restful trip to Australia, two internships, and lots of sleep and shows in between. I've emerged with a clearer inkling of what I want in the future and a deeper sense and understanding of self. I have also discovered Billions, which is the best show I've watched in a long time.
I made these cookies on a whim - the baking bug had hit, which was nice because I haven't been hit by the baking bug for a long time before this. I'm glad that I was baking more this summer. I feel particularly inspired and motivated. This summer, I understood and witnessed firsthand just how and why so many people in our profession leave in a matter of years. It doesn't quite have to be this way; but the environment really does make a big difference. Really thankful for the people I've met and the friends I've made this summer, and for Nat, who listens to me and supports me throughout.
I'd initially wanted to make my favourite chocolate chip cookies, the tried and tested. But I'd made a huge batch of salted caramel last weekend (that's what happens when your heavy cream expires in a day) and I had over a jar of it, calling out to me to be baked into something! I planned to stuff these cookies with the salted caramel or flavour the dough with it, but the dough was just really wet. I ended up simply spooning teaspoons of salted caramel atop the cookie dough.
What differentiates these cookies from the typical choc-chip ones is that I was lazy in making this batch, and didn't bother letting the brown butter cool down before going ahead with the remaining steps. As a result, the mini dark chocolate chips I used had melted into the batter when I stirred them in, essentially making the cookie dough a chocolate-flavoured cookie dough, and not chocolate chip cookie dough. The chocolate flavour isn't particularly strong, but it is there. It balances the natural sweetness of the dough and the caramel, given that dark chocolate was used! I suspect milk chocolate might sweeten it a little too much.
These cookies are especially crackly; similar to those brownie cookies that you see on baking blogs here and there. I did a quick google search, which told me that cookies crackle when the outside of a cookie solidifies, but the inside is still baking. While the regular cookies aren't that crackly, I suspect this result is amplified by the caramel in the middle, which covers the middle of the cookie. This result can be amplified by chilling the cookie dough (a greater change in temperature = insides take longer to warm up = cracklier cookies!). Ah, baking science.
TO MAKE THESE COOKIES: Follow this link - here - or just search for the CCC Quest: Episode 5 in my Recipes tab. Follow the steps, but don't cool the butter, and work as quickly as possible from start to finish so that the chocolate chips melt into the cookie dough. Add some caramel sauce on top - you can use a store-bought one, or you can make yours from scratch! I've been using the same salted caramel recipe for years, and it has never failed me.
The recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction - once of the first baking blogs I started reading! It's so simple, and has never failed me. All you need to do is heat 200g of granulated sugar in a saucepan until it melts completely. Cut 90g of butter into cubes, and once the sugar is melted, add the cubes in one by one. Keep stirring as you add the butter in. When you have added all your butter, drizzle 120ml (1/2 a cup) of heavy cream into the saucepan slowly. Be careful, as the cream will be cold and the caramel will start to bubble as you add it in! Continue stirring, until the cream has been mixed in - the sauce will be thin, and should be a lovely golden brown. Add a teaspoon of sea salt, and stir. Remove from heat and let it cool - the sauce will thicken as it cools!