Currently as I write this, my life is a sh*itshow: I’m still recovering from a months long throat and eye infection, I’m inhaling my way through a bag of sour cream and cheddar ruffle chips roughly the size of a small pillow, and I’ve been listening to the Counting Crows’ “Big Yellow Taxi” on repeat for the last two hours. Both my living and dining room look like they’ve been hit by a hurricane of papers, props, kitchen tools, and even appliances (there’s literally been a new oven sitting in the middle of the living room for a month now). And I haven’t gotten my hair cut in a year and a half. Ooof.
Why the hot mess? I’m in the middle of what is (hopefully) one of the final pushes for my book, Weeknight Baking. Can you believe that I’ve been working on the manuscript for almost two years now? It’s been quite the journey and a real test of my patience (something I’ve never had much of, lol). Things in publishing happen very slowly until they happen ALL AT ONCE (with little to no warning to boot). It really upends your life — you just gotta hang on for the ride. I’m sure y’all are sick of hearing about it, but I promise I’m close, so close. And everything will go back to normal. Maybe. *laughs manically*
In the meantime though, let me give you guys a taste of what I’ve been working on these last few years. I’m currently in the editing process of Weeknight Baking, and along the way, we’ve had to cut out some awesome recipes that I really love but didn’t quite fit the theme of the overall book.
Like these brownies cookies!
Although they are a little too time-consuming to make on a weeknight, they are seriously one of my favorite cookie recipes. Each cookie tastes like a brownie edge piece, with fudgy centers and crispy, cracky edges. For extra fun, I stuffed each cookie with a caramel candy. During the baking process, the caramel melts and turns into a gooey puddle in the middle of the cookie. So good!
- This recipe works best if you have a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop. The 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop is a major workhorse in my kitchen, and is responsible for the pretty and generous bakery-style cookies you often see on my blog and Instagram. It ensures you get perfectly round cookies that are the same size and shape each time, along with minimizing the mess in the kitchen. You’re going to use your hands to mold and shape these cookies by pressing two cookie dough balls together. It’s pretty important they’re all the same size — if they’re uneven, the caramel leak out and create a giant mess. If you’re a serious baker (or planning on being one), a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop is worth it, I promise. Here’s the exact one I use that I apparently bought back in 2013 — there’s no stopping that baby!
- For this recipe, you’ll need to source caramel candies that are both soft and chewy — not the kind that’s hard and more like a lollipop. Those don’t melt properly in the cookies and won’t result in the gooey, molten caramel centers. For these cookies, I used Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels, which is available in the candy aisle of most major supermarkets and pharmacies. In a pinch, you can also substitute other candies; when I was testing this recipe for Weeknight Baking, I baked them with Junior Mints, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and even marshmallows. All were delicious.
Caramel Stuffed Brownie Cookies
- Special Equipment: a food processor
- a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop (see baker’s notes)
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (between 60 to 65% cocoa)
- 1/2 cup (4.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 12 soft and chewy caramel candies (preferably Werther's Original Chewy Caramels — see baker's notes for substitutions)
- Place the dark chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the chocolate is chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over medium heat or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir the chocolate occasionally. Cool on a wire rack to cool slightly as you work with the other ingredients.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes, using a spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the mixer to low and add eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg when the previous one is incorporated. Add vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and beat until combined and the dough is a uniform, chocolate color. Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Add the chocolate chips all at once and beat only until spread throughout the dough, about 1 minute.
- Let the dough rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before you start scooping out the cookies. The dough will be very soft at first, but will firm up the longer it sits. Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion a total of 24 cookie dough balls. Press a caramel candy directly in the center of 12 of the cookie dough balls. Press another cookie dough ball directly on top of the caramels, creating a sort of cookie dough ball sandwich with the caramel in the middle. Mold the dough down and around the caramel so that it gets covered completely with cookie dough. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough balls. You're basically making a cookie dough ball that's twice as big as what you scooped; each dough ball should weigh around 2.75 ounces.
- Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared sheet pans at least 3 inches apart. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the top of the cookies are cracked and the edges have set. Cool cookies on their sheet pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch. Serve the cookies warm, or at room temperature. The cookies can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, for up to 3 days.