Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crunchy Caramel Chocolate Chip Pecan Shortbread Cookies

 Crunchy Caramel Chocolate Chip Pecan Shortbread Cookies 

These little gems were born of a mistake, or rather, my inability to figure out on the first try how high a temperature to go to when I make caramel. Grrr. I have my candy thermometer in some boiling water right now to see if it's the thermometer's fault. I thought 240 degrees was the magic number, but that doesn't work sometimes. I probably need to try 230-235 again sometime soon, but I think I might need to use up my big bag of crunchy caramel crumble first. 
Anyway, I almost threw out the crunchy caramel, but somehow got the idea instead to grind it up in the food processor. What I ended up with was a half filled gallon sized zip top bag of Crunchy Caramel Crumble. Eaten with a spoon it tastes pretty good too. When I put it out to my Facebook and Instagram friends, I got some other good suggestions on what to do with the stuff. I have enough to implement all of the ideas eventually, but for now, I'm making these.
I've already made two batches of these cookies because I love them so much. They are a variation on the Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie recipe I also have here on this blog, but the addition of the crunchy caramel crumble takes them to a new, even more delicious level. I prefer mine cooked to a deeper golden brown than what most people might like--it takes them to a slightly crunchier texture, rather than the tender feel of cookies with only slightly browned edges. Because the caramel crumble is made up of half pecans and half caramel, the cookies get infused with even more pecan flavor along with the distinct caramel flavor too. Love it.

Crunchy Caramel Chocolate Chip Pecan Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter,softened, but cool
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ (heaping) cup chocolate chips, or, better yet, 12 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, chopped
  • 1 cup Crunchy Caramel Crumble (see recipe below)
· Preheat oven to 325°F.
· Cream butter and sugar.
· Add vanilla and egg. 
· Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture.
· Stir in nuts, chocolate chips or Dove Dark Chocolate chunks, and the caramel crumble.
· Drop tablespoon sized balls onto parchment-lined baking sheet (I used a cookie scoop), and press to flatten with a cookie stamp or bottom of glass dipped in flour or sugar. 
· Bake at 325°F for approximately 18 minutes.
· Remove to wire rack to cool.  Then store in an airtight container.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

The crumble

Crunchy Caramel Crumble
    --If you don't want to go to these lengths to get this crumble, I think you could sub 1/2 cup toffee baking chips and 1/2 cup pecans and grind them together to make a slightly different crumble. I bet it will still taste good though.

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups lightly toasted pecans
  • seeds scraped from a 1-inch segment of vanilla bean pod
1. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Evenly spread 1 1/2 cups of the nuts in the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
2. Place remaining half cup of nuts and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large heavy saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.  Once it comes to a boil, cook without stirring until mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. (This is where I have my "problem." I think this temperature is too high for nice soft, chewy caramel, but I can't say for sure. This is what I did to get my crunchy caramel.)  Remove pan from heat.  Add remaining half cup of nuts and vanilla seeds, stirring well to combine.  Pour into prepared dish and run the spatula through the nuts to make sure caramel seeps into all crevices.  Allow to cool for 1-2 hours.
4. Once caramel is hard, cover with foil and then drop the pan's bottom onto a concrete surface to break the caramel up into manageable size pieces.
5. Process crunch caramel chunks in batches a food processor. Process until you get a coarse sand texture. Store crunch caramel crumbs in an airtight container. It makes a lot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello! If your comment is more of a question about something you are cooking RIGHT NOW, please email me the question in addition to posting it here. I check my email more frequently than I check my blog comments. :)

01 09