Chocolate chip cookies. They’re a classic. A tried and true crowd pleaser that seemingly everyone can agree on. Delicious, chocolaty, chewy and….boring. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan of this staple as the next guy or gal, but that’s the problem with them isn’t it? Do you really want to be known as that person who brings the “staple” to the party? The next thing you know you’ll be lumped in with all those other people who bring the “essentials”. “Oh phewf, Bob’s here with the napkins, Alice just walked in with the ice and [insert your name here] is finally here with those chocolate chip cookies.” I mean….just….no. Unacceptable. I want fanfare when I walk in the door. Eyes widening with delight to discover what crazy concoction will soon be gracing the palettes of all those present. Parades!! Streamers!! Fireworks!!! (uh, possibly only fireworks for your outdoor parties. Unless it’s a Fireman’s ball? That way you can keep those folks in true fighting form 😉 ). I don’t care if it’s a support group for people who don’t like fire and loud noises. Exceptions sometimes need to be made here people! 😉
I know, I know, there’s something to be said for the classics. That’s why they’re called classics and why they stand the test of time so well. For me though, on virtually every occasion I’ve gone to whip up a batch, a chocolate chip cookie recipe is really more like a bare bones blueprint that hasn’t had all the details filled in yet. It needs a team of creative genius’ and interior decorators…er…..bakers (wwweeelll…I’m playing a little fast and loose with the pluralization of the word “bakers”. It’s really just me and my apparently multiple personalities – Baker Amber 1 and Baker Amber 2. Oh, you don’t like those names? Not clever enough for you? DEAL WITH IT!!! Nobody questions it when Dr Seuss does it, but when it’s me, NOW everyone gets all up in arms 😉 ) to lend their considerable expertise to create a true work of art worthy of the fanciest black tie events (’cause that’s totally what you’re thinking when you look at these photos right? Black tie events. I mean nothing says fancy quite like a psychedelic floral patterned background and some cookies 😉 ).
Alright, so I know what you’re thinking – “Amber, ummm…I hate to be the bearer of bad news bears here, but uh…when I look at these cookies I see…cookies….chocolate chips…and…well…that’s about it. Did you accidentally attach the wrong images or something? Or is this like a before and after photo, but you somehow missed including the “after” portion?” Incorrect. These are most definitely the right cookies, the best part is just slightly hidden, but if you really use your eyes, you might notice what I’m talking about in a couple of images. These beautiful pancake-like orbs of sugary goodness are in fact stuffed with more sugary goodness! That’s right. They’re virtually filled to the brim with some beer pretzel caramels!
So what really happened here was that I stumbled across this recipe for beer pretzel caramels. I totally wanted to make them, which I did (veganizing it by replacing butter with vegan butter and cream with canned coconut milk), and, despite halving the recipe so I’d end up with a couple of dozen, I somehow still had a badgillion of them (read 50+) and thus, needed a vehicle to expand they’re usage. What to do? I took my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, wrapped some of that delectable dough around a ball of beer pretzel caramel and, Bob’s your uncle (because doesn’t everyone have an uncle named Bob? Even if you don’t think you do, I’ll bet if you ask your parents, you’ll find out that you in fact do have a secret uncle Bob), elevated chocolate chip cookies!
I apologize for the overall boringness of this post. When I’m feelin’ all on my game, I try and be good and write a few weeks ahead, so you’re typically seeing things I made up to a month (or sometimes more) ago. Somehow time got away from me and I’m writing this at the last minute. I’m seriously not usually this much of a procrastinator. It turns out that your teachers were right. You can tell when something was just written at the last minute. It has that sad whiff of desperation and ramblingness. Luckily this is not a true sheet of paper though because you’d likely be reading this through some coffee and chocolate stains while brushing aside random cookie crumbs.
I don’t know why I insisted on my total honesty policy with this blog. I seriously considered not sharing my last minute post writing with you. But after twisting myself into a beer pretzel caramel about it, I opted to continue to put all my (chocolate) chips on the table.
Yield: 2 dozen
- 24 beer pretzel caramels (recipe here – replace butter with vegan butter and cream with canned coconut milk. Otherwise use any vegan caramel candy recipe or commercially available vegan caramel candies that float your boat)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
- 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour (use bread flour for chewier cookies)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325F and either grease or line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat together butter, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- Add the chocolate chips and toasted pecans (if using) to the dry mixture and stir until they’re flour-coated.
- Stir into the wet mixture in two batches until just mixed (no need to over mix).
- Depending on the size of your caramels, take about a tablespoons of dough (or however much you think you’ll need to wrap around your caramel), and wrap around your caramel, making sure it’s completely covered before rolling into a ball.
- Place on on cookie sheet about an inch apart. Slightly flatten down each cookie with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a flour coated glass.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until only the very edges of the cookies start to brown. Better to err on the side of caution and remove them earlier to keep them chewier and the caramel more deliciously runny.
- Store in an airtight container.