Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bites
Unapologetically inspired by the classic movie theater candy, Milk Duds, these two-bite morsels combine a chocolaty cookie shell with a soft caramel center. Deceptively looking like regular old chocolate cookies, the stream of sweet caramel that flows out when you bite into them is a welcome surprise!
These cookies are ridiculously easy to make. Almost dangerously easy because you will soon find yourself wanting to make them everyday … at least I do! When I decided to make a Milk Dud-inspired cookie, I searched around for an appropriate recipe to use for the chocolate shell. I needed something that would be sturdy enough to hide the soft caramel center, yet soft enough to maintain a cookie-like texture. Deb’s recipe for brownie roll-out cookies looked perfect. Soft, pliable dough that could be easily rolled around a caramel while still providing an intense chocolate flavor.
This recipe is essentially a chocolate sugar cookie but it has such a deep chocolate flavor that the name doesn’t really do it justice. I was tempted to call these beauties Caramel Brownie Bites but my always honest boyfriend/taste-tester extraordinaire informed me that calling them brownies was misleading since they are much closer to the cookie family. So Chocolate Caramel Cookies Bites it is!
The dough will probably seem very dry and crumbly at first. Don’t be alarmed, this is because it is a sugar cookie dough. Once you chill the dough and begin rolling, it should come together. If pieces fall off, don’t hesitate to just press them back into your rolled cookie. Also, I only rolled small portions of the dough at a time (I probably rolled it out in 3 or 4 smaller batches). You want the dough to be between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. This will allow you to fully cover the caramel with an even amount of cookie. I rolled them in raw sugar to give them an extra sparkle and some crunch to the outside, but this is definitely optional. If you are a fan of salted caramels, you might want to try rolling them in some coarse sea salt before baking. I bet that would be amazing!
If you are ambitious, you could make your own caramels. Still being slightly terrified of candy thermometers and the perils of candy making, I opted for the store bought kind that do not create a danger of third-degree burns/scalding/fires/death. One day I will conquer my fear and make my own caramels! I promise I will! Just not today …
Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bites
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 bag of caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar (for rolling)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
- Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
- Wrap dough ball in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
- Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into roughly 1 1/2 - 2 inch diameter circles or squares (the shape and precision of the cut section doesn't really matter since you will be wrapping it around the caramel anyway), brushing extra deposits of flour off the top.
- Roll the dough around an unwrapped caramel. Roll the dough back and forth in your hands until it forms a smooth ball.
- Roll the ball in a bowl of raw or turbinado sugar, pressing slightly to coat with sugar.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are firm.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
* I used regular old Hershey's cocoa (I thought it would be most appropriate since Milk Duds are a Hershey's product) but feel free to substitute a higher quality chocolate if you have it. I'm sure it would just add to the intensity of the chocolate flavor.
Note: These are best served fresh from the oven or slightly reheated (a quick zap in the microwave will do the trick). This warms the caramel up, making it gooey and delicious. Served at room temperature they are still yummy but the caramels are chewier.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Brownie Roll-Out Cookies