thirty eight: caramel chocolate chip cookies (+ two cupcakes)

Initially, I wanted to write about the two cupcakes that I baked earlier this month for Mother’s Day but after I revisited an old recipe for chewy chocolate cookies, I knew that I had to feature the cookies! No worries, I’ll include the recipes for the cupcakes too (scroll down if you’re more of a cupcake kinda person).

I made Alton Brown’s The Chewy cookies last year, and I thought I had the perfect recipe….. until I stumbled on this Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie from Not Without Salt. I totally forgot about baking them again because I thought I lost the recipe. Turns out, I had it in my recipe book all along. I probably jotted it down hastily in a post-it before stashing it away with some old, random print-outs of recipes that I have yet to try. Whoops.

ccc-cookies2_webIF YOU PREFER CRISPY COOKIES, INCREASE THE BAKING TIME SLIGHTLY.
THAT SAID, I MAY HAVE “OVERBAKED” THE LAST ROW OF COOKIES #EXCUSES

I think this is my go-to recipe now because the caramel flavour is quite distinct in the cookie. Also, it is not as tedious as Alton Brown recipe (Alton’s bread flour versus Not Without Salt’s plain flour).

I don’t mind spending extra time in the kitchen if it means that I will have great, chewy cookies afterwards. But when you’re pressed for time (like me lol), this recipe will do for a last minute craving. The only time-sucking steps here are when you have to let the caramel cool for half an hour, and letting the batter rest in the fridge for another half an hour before baking.

ccc-cookies1_web

You can use any kind of chocolate chips too. I used Ghirardelli‘s bittersweet chocolate chips in my first batch, and Hershey’s semi sweet chocolate chips in my second batch – both turned out fine. If you’re feeling extra fancy, sprinkle some sea salt over the cookies before baking. It may be an acquired taste, but I kind of love the bizarre mixture of sweet and saltiness.

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Not Without Salt)
makes about 30 palm-sized cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (about 113g)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar (you may reduce this, if you like)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 6 to 8 oz chocolate chips
  • sea salt (optional)

Steps

  1. Prepare your “caramel”: melt butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir, and bring to a boil until all the sugar has dissolved. Be careful not to burn the mixture! Once ready, leave it to cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the cooled mixture to a mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla essence, and beat to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt, and beat well.
  4. Lastly, add the chocolate chips, and beat to combine. Place your mixing bowl in the refrigerator, and let it chill for about 30 minutes.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet, leaving some space in between. Sprinkle sea salt, if desired.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the tray for a few minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. The cookies will be super soft at this point – so not worry! Once the cookies cool down to room temperature, they will be delectably chewy!

Also, as promised, here are the cupcake recipes. As usual, I have Hummingbird Bakery to thank (;

cc1_webChocolate Cupcakes
makes about a dozen cupcakes

Ingredients
(for the cupcakes)

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence

(for the chocolate buttercream frosting)

  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 40g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tbsp milk

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C
  2. Put flour, cocoa powder, caster sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla essence and milk in a separate bowl, then slowly pour about half of it into the flour mixture. Beat to combine, and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.
  4. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon into prepared cupcake pans (about two-thirds) and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown and the cake bounces back when touched.
  6. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the pan before turning them out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the chocolate buttercream, beat icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder in a mixer on medium-slow speed until it is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed, and add the milk gradually. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  8. Frost your cooled cupcakes, and you’re done.

cc2_web Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
makes about a dozen cupcakes
*Note: Best consumed immediately. I wouldn’t recommend keeping them overnight as we’re using fresh fruits and crumbled biscuits here.

Ingredients
(for the cupcakes and frosting)

I used the same vanilla base and frosting that I posted earlier. Just omit the salted caramel, and core your cupcakes before adding the strawberry filling. Garnish your frosted cupcakes with crumbled digestive biscuits (for that lovely crunch) and sliced strawberries.

(for the strawberry filling)

  • a handful of strawberries, chopped into small pieces
  • a few tbsp of water
  • 1-2 tbsp of sugar, to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp of cornstarch

Steps
Note: I don’t have the exact measurements for the strawberry filling as I roughly based it on a friend’s recipe (hello S, if you’re reading! :p), so feel free to replace this with strawberry jam! Or you can try this recipe, if you dare :p

  1. Throw all the ingredients (except the cornstarch) into a saucepan, and cook over a low flame.
  2. Once the mixture looks like a thick, chunky syrup, add the cornstarch and continue cooking until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Leave it to cool before using.
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