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Recipe and image source: Cooking Classy
My mother always adds a little salt in sweet dishes and a little sugar in savoury preparations. She says that this enhances the flavor of the food. Sounds weird but it’s true. I guess this is how salted caramel was invented. The inventor of salted caramel must be my mother’s distant relative. Anyhow, the inventor of salted caramel provided a great service to the mankind and we are really indebted to him/her for a lifetime. If you are a fan of salted caramel, just read on to find out what we are cooking in the kitchen using one of the best sweet inventions of mankind: the salted caramel.
1 cup whole grain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed, brown sugar
1 large egg, yolk and white separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup of caramel pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
Flaky or coarse sea salt
1/3 cup chopped milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
2 teaspoons shortening
For the cookies:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.
In the another bowl, whip butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together, until slightly pale and fluffy. Mix in egg yolk (store the egg white in a bowl in the refrigerator) and vanilla extract. Also, mix the buttermilk in this mixture.
Fold in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Shape dough into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten dough into a 6-inch disk and then wrap with plastic wrap and chill for an hour, until slightly firm
Preheat oven to 180-degree centigrade. Take out the egg white from the refrigerator and whisk vigorously until frothy. Finely chop the pecans and put them in a bowl.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, drop each piece into the egg white and roll in it to evenly coat the cookie. Now lift and remove any excess egg white from it and immediately put it in the bowl with chopped pecans and roll to evenly coat (if necessary, you can gently press into the nuts to help them stick).
Place them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and make a deep cavity with thumb in the center of each dough ball.
Bake them for about 10 - 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven then using the bottom of a rounded spoon, gently press down on existing cavity (to create more space for caramel). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the topping:
Put the caramel and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon caramel into the cavity in cookies and sprinkle some a small pinch of sea salt on the cookies.
Place chocolate and shortening into a separate microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat mixture on 50% power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth.
Pour into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut tip of the corner. Drizzle over cookies, or you can also drizzle it with a spoon.
Allow to set and store in an airtight container, just in case you have any leftovers. I never had any, but the rumor says that it stays fresh up to a week.
Alternatively, you can also make caramel at home.
Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when you add the butter.
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter.
Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
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