Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

  We don’t do a whole lot of baked desserts here at our house.  My Mr. isn’t big on sweet things (good thing or he’d have picked another woman!) and when it comes to food vices, I’ll take a bag of tortilla chips over a cake 9 times out of 10.
  That being said…there’s always that tenth time to account for, and as xmas crawled closer and closer, I found myself in the mood for homemade cookies.
  The salted caramel craze has really taken off in the last few years…and there’s a reason.  It’s delicious!  My Pinterest dessert board tends to be where good recipes go to die, but this one only sat for 2 weeks before I decided I had to make it.
  Here’s what you need:
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each*
sea salt to sprinkle
* I found these Kraft caramel bits in my baking aisle.  We all know I love the lazy, so I was all about them!  I was a little afraid they’d turn out to be more or less butterscotch chips, so I did chop up some actual wrapped caramels, but learn from my experience, these work just fine!
  So I’m going to start this recipe with a little bit of a warning: this is kind of a pain in the butt.  Butter has to be softened, eggs have to be warmed, then everything has to be chilled and blah blah blah, finicky junk that I hate ahead.  I followed the directions…and I will tell you right now, all of those annoying details yielded incredibly delicious, squishy cookies that have stayed soft for an entire week…but if you aren’t in the mood for prep work, I think throwing caramel chips into my chocolate chip cookies and then sprinkling them with salt would yield delicious results as well.
  The original recipe has us start out by preheating our ovens to 325 degrees…but then it also tells us that we need to chill our dough for at least 1/2 hour.  I’m pretty freaking slow in the kitchen, but I can’t imagine that anybody is throwing together their dough fast enough that it has 1/2 hour to chill before their oven is preheated.  Lets ignore that whole preheating thing for now.
  When it comes to baking, there is chemistry involved, so there are only so many shortcuts we can take.  I understand why the original has you mix your flour and your baking soda in a separate bowl first, because you do want to combine your wet and your dry ingredients separately…but I hate dishes, and we only have two dry ingredients.  I creamed my butter and sugars, added my vanilla and eggs and mixed it all up.  Then I added my baking soda and flour to the same bowl, making certain to sprinkle the baking soda in as I added the flour and keeping my mixer down low.  Dry ingredients+high speeds on the mixer=giant kitchen mess on your head.
  Once your ingredients have formed into a dough, mix in your chocolate chips and caramel bits.  I’d suggest leaving a handful of each to the side to press into the top of your cookies so that your salt has something to stick to, and if you’re feeling ambitious, the hand cut, square chunks of caramels do add something to the look.  I got 6 pieces out of each caramel cube and stuck one into the top of each cookie.  If you cut them while your dough chills, you’ll have plenty of pieces for the approximately 3 dozen cookies this makes before your 1/2 hour is up.
  As a note, the original recipe says your dough needs to chill for at least a half hour, but as long as 5 days.  That means that even if you don’t have time to do everything with these at once, you can prep the dough now and come back to them later.
  Now start your oven pre-heating to 325 degrees.
  When your dough is chilled and your oven is hot, drop rounded Tbsp-fulls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Press some of your extra chocolate and caramel bits into the top and cook for around 8-10 minutes until the edges are browned.  The centers of these cookies will still be soft.  Sprinkle them with salt while they are still hot.
  As a warning:  I typically use a baking rack to cool my cookies on when I cook them.  That didn’t work out so hot for these.  They are so soft that a few of them broke off through the bars while cooling.
  The original recipe suggests keeping your dough in the fridge between batches to keep it cold, and I did.  I’m not sure how much effect that has on the end result, but it was a convenient place to keep it out of my way, and as I said, these have stayed fresh-from-the-oven soft for a ridiculously long time.
  These are crazy good.  Even my sweets-averse Mr. has been gobbling them up.  I don’t like high maintenance recipes, but this one…this one just may be worth it.
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