It’s that time of year again – the baking season, wherein I make loads of cookies and force my loved ones to eat them. (I am such a weird dichotomy of “let’s run all the miles” and “let’s eat all the dessert.” Life is about balance though, right?)
If you know me, you know I am obsessed with salted caramel. I make several batches of caramels every year, usually to give alongside treats like my peppermint sugar cookies. Out of pure curiosity last night, I decided to tweak the base for my basic sugar cookie recipe and use the caramel in it instead of peppermint.
After they baked & cooled I made a caramel icing glaze, drizzled them with melted caramel & topped them with sea salt. The result was gooey, chewy & bursting with layers of rich vanilla-caramel flavor topped off with a well-balanced salty-sweet crunch. I am in looooooove.
Here’s how I did it. Let me know if you try the recipe – I welcome feedback!
Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened (not melted – that will change the texture)
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Generous pinch of salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 batch of homemade salted caramels (or use Kraft caramels if you don’t want to add another recipe to the mix here – but trust me, this recipe is worth the effort)
Preheat oven to 350F & line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set out cooling racks if you have them (the air circulation makes a difference in the texture of the finished product).
Cream together butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg, extract and salt and mix until combined. A cup at a time, add the flour until just combined – do not overmix.
Roll the dough into ½” balls and divide each caramel square into 4 pieces – you are going to stuff each dough ball with one of these caramel bits. To assemble, lightly flatten 2 dough balls, place a caramel bit between the two and press edges together around the caramel. You may need to roll the newly formed ball a bit more between your hands to completely seal the caramel inside the cookie. Place each ball on the lined cookie sheets, a couple of inches apart.
Bake cookies for 10 minutes (I tend to put the pans in for 5 minutes, rotate/turn them and cook for another 5 to ensure even cooking). They’ll still be light – browned edges mean they’re overcooked. You may have a little caramel leakage, but that’s okay.
Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then move cookies to your cooling racks until completely cool.
Caramel Royal Icing Glaze and Caramel Drizzle(optional):
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 caramels, melted (in a double boiler or in the microwave at 5 sec. intervals)
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
In a small bowl, whisk sugar, water & extract together. Once royal icing reaches a thick but spreadable consistency, add a tablespoon or two of the melted caramel and stir until well combined.
Dip tops of cookies in icing or brush on tops of cookies with a pastry or basting brush, then drizzle remaining caramel over cookies and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Let the topping harden completely before serving or packaging.