Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Choco-Caramel Delights

Posted by Lori:
A Christmas tradition at my husband's work includes co-workers exchanging gifts...usually something homemade or handmade. Since my husband works for a children's home, many of the co-workers are houseparents and have a "house-full" of children in their care. So, when the gift exchange involves food...there needs to be a lot!

A few years ago, instead of making the traditional pumpkin bread I usually made for the exchange, I enlisted my family in a cookie-making day. We each picked two cookie recipes to make, then divided the cookies into gable boxes, and delivered the sweet treats. These Choco-Caramel Delights (Note: Not De-LITES!!!) were one of the ones I picked out to make and are now one of my favorite cookies.

Choco-Caramel Delights

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, separated
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Caramel Filling (recipe follows)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

In large mixer bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until blended. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt in small bowl; blend into butter mixture. Chill dough at least 1 hour or unti firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Beat egg while slightly shape dough into 1-inch balls (using a 1 inch cookie scoop makes this even easier). Dip each ball into egg white; roll in pecans to coat. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Press thumb gently in center of each ball. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. While cookies bake, prepare Caramel Filling. Press center of each cookie again with thumb to make indentation. Immediately spoon about 1/2 teaspoon Caramel Filling in center of each cookie. Carefully remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Microwave at HIGH (100% power) 1 minute or until softened; stir. Allow to stand several minutes to finish melting; stir until smooth. Place waxed paper under wire racks with cookies. Drizzle chocolate mixture over top of cookies. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Caramel Filling: In small saucepan, combine 14 unwrapped caramels and 3 Tablespoons whipping cream. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.

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