Chocolate Chip Caramel Sandwiches
Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?! Even though it feels like forever since I last posted, somehow the summer flew by! Unfortunately, baking hasn’t been a huge part of my summer, but there’s still time to change that!
I was lucky enough to spend 7 weeks studying abroad in Dublin and I truly had the time of my life! However, baking was a little bit tricky across the pond. Our apartment was stocked with 1 rusted cookie sheet, 1 tablespoon (I’m not even kidding, there was just 1 measuring spoon. No idea where the rest of the set ran off to…) and a couple pots and pans. So… making anything from scratch was out of the cards.
Since much of my baking comes from the need to procrastinate, it was a struggle to be studying for my Irish Lit and Celtic Myth classes with no ability to bake! But, we did manage to find a couple tubes of premade cookie dough to bake off. Gotta do what you gotta do to get that baking fix, am I right???
Though I wasn’t ready to come home from Dublin, the bright side is that now I have a fully stocked kitchen ready to be baked in!
This next recipe was a request from my grandmother. We’ve been having these delectable little “sandwiches” from the market near our house in Canada for years, but never have even attempted to replicate them. I guess we feared that nothing could ever live up to the original. This may very well be true, but I think these are pretty gosh darn close. (They may even be better. Shhhh!)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
The chocolate chip cookie recipe I started with is my absolute favorite and go-to by Sally’s Baking Addiction with a little twist. If you haven’t tried these cookies yet, your chocolate chip cookie palate is severely lacking.
The recipe itself is simple enough, just make sure that you give yourself enough time before you need the cookies, because the dough requires at least 3 hours to chill in the fridge.
To make the dough, whisk together the baking soda, cornstarch, flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, butter and granulated sugar together, blending until there are no lumps left and it is a grainy paste consistency. Once fully incorporated, whisk in the egg, and egg yolk. Finally, add in the vanilla and whisk until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently just until fully incorporated. The dough will be very soft. Fold in chocolate chips, cover and chill in refrigerator from 3 hours to 3 days.
When it comes time to bake, preheat oven to 325 and take the dough out of the fridge to soften for about 10 minutes before scooping. Roll dough into balls, 1 tablespoon in size. Or if you’re OCD like me, 25 grams on a digital scale. (Hey, I like uniform cookies, ok?!) Place 8 balls on each baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. To look more like the original cookies and be easier to sandwich together later on, I used my thumbs to press down the cookies a little bit.
Bake for 12 minutes, one tray at a time. Optional step to make the cookies even flatter: gently press the tops of the cookies down with a flat spatula right after taking them out of the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool. Allow the cookies to completely cool before preparing the caramel filling.
Right before preparing the caramel, line half of the cookies bottom-up on a baking tray nearby. When you are ready for the caramel filling, use a small pot on medium heat to melt butter and salt into the heavy cream. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside for later. For the next part, I recommend reading the recipe in its entirety before proceeding, because it can all come up pretty quickly!
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with baking spray. In at least a 4 quart saucepan off heat, mix together corn syrup, sugar and water to make a thick, grainy paste. Use a wet pastry brush to clean off the sides of the pot above the sugar-mix line, so that no sugar crystals form and burn. Place your candy thermometer in the mix and STOP STIRRING at this point!
Place the sugar mixture on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 320 degrees. Once it hits 320 degrees, turn off heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Stop whisking once well incorporated. Return to medium-high heat and let boil without stirring. The mixture will almost double in size, so that is why it’s extremely important to have a big enough saucepan! (Learned from experience, yikes!) Heat the caramel until it reaches 245 degrees. It will turn from a lighter color to a richer caramel color.
Once the caramel hits 245 degrees, remove from heat and quickly whisk in vanilla. Immediately after mixing, pour caramel into the prepared dish.
Use a spatula to scoop up caramel and spread onto each lined-up cookie. Be careful with this part! The caramel is EXTREMELY HOT!!! Once all the bottom halves have been covered in caramel, sandwich each one with the remaining cookies. While you do have to work relatively quickly spreading the caramel onto the cookies before it sets and hardens, it does take a while for it to harden completely, so no need to completely rush. But also, no need to take your sweet time!
Finally, the finishing touch! Throw the chopped semi-sweet chocolate into the microwave and melt in increments of 15 seconds. Drizzle the melted chocolate onto one side of the sandwiched cookies. Wait until the caramel and chocolate have completely set before serving. (or don’t… 😉 ) You may even have some extra caramel on your hands. YUM!
If you’re desperate to try these cookies but are stuck in a dorm kitchen-type situation with no saucepan or candy thermometer etc. you can always bake the cookies, and buy a bag of premade caramels (such as Brach’s, Werther’s or Kraft) to get that caramel middle. Then all you have to do is melt them in the microwave and spread in between the cookies!