I made another Pinterest recipe. My husband loved chocolate crinkle cookies when he was a kid. So when I saw this caramel version, I surprised him with some on Christmas. He is trying to cut down on sugar. So I used Splenda for the cookie dough. They turned out great. The caramel and powdered sugar were the real deal though. If I were a better and more patient food photographer I would snap a photo of an open cookie with caramel melting out onto the plate. But you'll just have to use your imagination!
Here is the recipe...with sugar.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 dozen caramels (such as Kraft), unwrapped (Rolos would also be good)
coarse sea salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, whip together butter, granulated sugar and light-brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until combine. Mix in vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine.
Scoop dough out 2 tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Press one caramel into the center, sprinkle top of caramel with a small pinch of coarse sea salt then fold cookie dough around caramel and salt (make sure the caramel is fully covered with dough around all sides). Shape into a ball once more then roll in powdered sugar*. Align cookies on Silpat lined or buttered cookie sheets and bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool (note that the caramel will set after it cools, I liked these cookies best warm for soft gooey caramel). Store in an airtight container.
*I gave my cookies a generous coating of the powdered sugar before baking, but when they baked a lot of the powdered sugar baked and dissolved into the cookie anyway. So I found you can coat the top again with powdered sugar after baking (which is not pictured) to get a prettier cookie. If doing so roll in powdered sugar once before baking (doesn't need to be generously), then bake them and allow to cool and dip the tops of cookies in a fresh batch of powdered sugar (so there is no cross contamination) and shake off some of the excess. If you want to do it that way I would recommend using 1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling before baking and reserve 1/4 cup in a separate bowl to dip and coat the tops after baking.
So if you haven't eaten too many Christmas cookies this season, try these!