Milk Chocolate-Caramel Cookies

Sometimes the classic chocolate chip cookie needs a face lift! Often times I’ve added walnuts or almonds to give it a crunch and other times I’ve tried incorporating a dried fruit such as cranberries or another type of chocolate such as white. One variation that I never considered trying is chocolate caramel cookies. The combination of chocolate and caramel creates a decadent delight!

The recipe is from a recipe book called Milk & Cookies, written by chef and owner Tina Casaceli of New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery. The book is based on five base cookie recipes with additions to make them even more delectable. The milk chocolate-caramel cookies start with the vanilla base dough and then throw some chocolate chips and caramel bits to add some pizazz.

For the vanilla base dough…

~ 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1 teaspoon baking soda
~ 1 1/2 cups unsalted  butter, at room temperature
~ 1 cup granulated sugar
~ 1 cup light brown sugar
~ 2 large eggs, at room temperature
~ 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
*Please note the actual Milk & Cookies recipe additionally calls for 1/2 teaspoon salt, which I omitted.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Alternatively, grease two baking sheets with non-stick spray.
2. Put the oats in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the ground oats to a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and optional salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter on low speed to soften. Gradually increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, or until light and creamy.
4. While beating, gradually add the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar, beating until light and creamy.
5. Add the egg one at a time and beat to incorporate. Beat in the vanilla and when thoroughly blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture.

To create the milk chocolate-caramel variation, make the vanilla base dough and then proceed with this recipe…

~ 2 cups milk chocolate chips
~ 2 cups small caramel pieces

1. Prepare the vanilla base dough.
2. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips and caramel pieces, mixing until evenly distributed. Do not use the mixer as it will break up the chocolate chips and caramel pieces into bits that are an undesirable texture.
3. Using a tablespoon, place balls of 1 1/2 inch-diameter on the prepared baking sheets.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center. Do not overbake; these treats are most delicious with chewiness in the center. Transfer the finished cookies to a wire rack to cool.

These cookies are tastiest right out of the oven! They can save up to a week in room temperature or can be frozen and defrosted for consumption later. A glass of milk goes great with these cookies. By no means are these a healthy option, but my are they worth the decadence!


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