We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cookie Recipe #22 - Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies

The first bite into one of these cookies involves chocolate, white and dark, crunchy pecans, followed by a creamy caramel filling-utopia in your mouth! You can't eat just one (or at least I can't). When I lived in Michign, this was one of the several kinds I made at Christmas time to give as gifts to all our friends and relatives. The center is a Rolo candy, so as you unwrap them to prepare to use them in the cookies, try to save a few for the cookies...
Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 - 1 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 cup butter, softened, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped pecans 48 Rolo Caramels, unwrapped (9 oz pkg-larger, if you want to eat some), 1 T. sugar, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1-2 teaspoons shortening.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking soda; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda over bowl of wet ingredients and thoroughly combine. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
In small bowl, combine other 1/2 cup chopped pecans with 1 tablespoon sugar (I use raw sugar); set aside.
With floured fingers, shape 1 tablespoon dough around one Rolo and roll into a ball. Dip one side of ball into bowl of sugar & pecans pressing lightly, then place on ungreased baking sheet, nuts side up, about 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 7-8 minutes. Cookies should be slightly cracked and still soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet until they retain their shape when removed, about 5 minutes. While cookies are cooling, prepare drizzle as follows: Melt vanilla chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl on High about a minute. Stir until chips are completely melted (return to microwave for an additional 20-30 seconds, if necessary). Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over each cookie and allow to harden.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Cookies Rule!!!

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