Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

Who doesn’t love a surprise?  Especially around the holidays.

Okay so the surprise is caramel.  I gave it away.  I’m terrible at keeping secrets.  And let’s be honest sometimes it’s not even a surprise but a gooey caramel mess.  You can’t really go wrong.  Either way, I’ll keep calling them a surprise cookie.  I sounds more enticing that way.

Caramel in a sweet and salty cookie.  I know, it’s exciting. Definitely surprise-worthy.

You’re probably going to want to make these for your next Holiday gathering and/or potluck.  They work for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa; clearly, they’re really equal opportunity cookies.

Did I mention they’re fun to make? And more importantly fun to eat.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pretzel pieces

First make the caramel filling.  Put 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan.  Turn heat on to medium and wait til the sugar starts to melt.  Carefully keep stirring until all the sugar is melted.  If you get clumps, smash them with your wooden spoon.  Push them to edges, they’ll melt faster.  Once your sugar is a light brown color, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the butter.  Once the butter is incorporated, add the pinch of salt and stream in the cream and you stir.  Keep whisking/stirring until it’s one thick, uniform texture.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Next add try ingredients  (including chocolate chips and pretzels).  The key is to work the dough as little as possible.  It’ll be a little sticky but that’s okay.

By now, your caramel should be pretty cool.  If it’s not then hang out for a few minutes until it’s cool enough to put in a ziploc bag.  Once you can, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off a bottom corner so you have a make-shift piping bag.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and get ready to assemble your cookies (note: the dough will be pretty sticky!  This is sort of a messy cookie making extravaganza, but get into it!  It’s fun!).

Grab a small amount of dough and sort of flatten it into a disk shape.  Using your finger, make a small well.  Pipe about a tsp of caramel into the well. Then fold the edges around to cover the caramel.  Put some more dough on top to make sure the caramel is completely coated with cookie (you might have to use bits of dough to patch up holes).  Repeat until you have 36 dough balls (depending on how big you make them) or you run out of dough.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

Then surprise your fella, co-workers, siblings with these cookies.  They’ll appreciate them.  Mine did.  I can almost guarantee yours will too.

Who doesn’t love surprises?  Especially ones that involve chocolate, pretzels and caramel.

That’s what I thought.  Get to the kitchen!

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200 Cookies and Some Tips

Want to know what 200 cookies looks like?

That’s what.

Tip #1: When you’re baking for a crowd, don’t experiment.  Use tried and true recipes.  Like these…

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tip #2:  It’s okay to make small changes to recipes.  But only if they’re idiot-proof.  Example: those Peanut Butter cookies.  I used the same recipe for Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, replaced almond butter with peanut butter and voila! Whole new cookie!  No brainer, can’t really mess that up.

Regular Chocolate Chip and Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(Oh hey, imagine pretty cookies here because I totally forgot to take pictures of these)
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Tip #3: Don’t over-mix your cookie dough.  It yields flat cookies.  True story.

Tip #4: Cookies keep well for a long time (or at least a few days).  Store them in air tight containers or zip loc bags.

It’s cookie season.  So get baking!