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!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cookie Recipe #243 - Caramel-Chocolate Pockets

There is a little bit of work involved in the making of today's cookie, but your reward when you bite into one will say it was worth it all.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (Nutella), 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 egg, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 32 caramels, unwrapped (about 10 ounces), 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and chocolate-hazelnut spread for 30 seconds. Add sugar and baking powder, continuing to beat. Add in egg, the 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla until combined. Gradually beat in flour until thoroughly incorporated.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 6 1/2-inch long roll. Gently flatten each side to form a triangular shape. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for 4-24 hours or until firm enough to slice.

For filling, in a small saucepan, melt 16 of the caramels and 1 tablespoon of the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly, then stir in 2 tablespoons of the hazelnuts.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Reshape logs, if necessary. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 1/4-inch slices. Place half of the slices 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Carefully spoon about 1/2 teaspoon filling over each. Top with remaining slices. Seal edges, pressing with fork tines.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 9-11 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

For drizzle, in a small saucepan, melt remaining 16 caramels and 1 tablespoon milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over cooled cookies; sprinkle with remaining nuts. Let stand until caramel is set.

Makes 2-3 dozen pockets.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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