I adapted this recipe from Favorite Brand Names: Gifts from the Christmas Kitchen. It’s a fantastic book with lots of gorgeous photos, yet I keep going back to this one recipe. Someday I’ll get around to trying the others. Meanwhile join me in falling in love with this recipe.
The cookies are chewy and brownie-like in taste and texture. Combined with the caramel and pecans, they remind me of the decadent turtle candies I always request from my husband each Valentine’s or Mother’s Day. While they do take a bit of time to prepare, the recipe is actually quite simple to follow. You’re guaranteed to get on Santa’s nice list if you plate up a batch of these for him on Christmas Eve!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg, separated
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 14 unwrapped caramels
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Cover egg white and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
- Cover the dough lightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. The dough should be quite firm before proceeding.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.
- Lightly beat the reserved egg white.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip in egg white, then roll in pecans, pressing lightly to coat.
- Arrange dough balls on prepared cookie sheet. Lightly press down the center of each ball with your thumb.
- Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until set.
- If not using the microwave caramel method described in the notes below, combine the caramels and whipping cream in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.
- While the baked cookies are still quite warm (but not hot enough to burn you) press down the center of each cookie again.
- Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of caramel mixture (or unset caramel from microwave recipe) into the center of each cookie.
- Place a wire rack over parchment or wax paper. Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
- Place chocolate chips and shortening in a small, microwavable bowl.
- Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until softened, and stir. Let stand a few minutes, then stir until smooth.
- Spoon chocolate mixture into a small, plastic zipper bag and cut a small piece off one corner. Pipe chocolate over cooled cookies.
- Let chocolate drizzle dry completely before storing in an airtight container.
I could not find wrapped caramels in the grocery store the day I wanted to make these, so I made my own caramels with this very easy microwave method: Fleur de Sel Caramels from Your Microwave.
Rather than melting finished caramels and mixing in whipping cream, I made these caramels according to the directions and spooned some of the mixture into the cookies while it was still hot. Then I poured the rest into a prepared pan as per the rest of the caramel recipe.