One of the best parts of the Christmas season as a kid was getting treats from all the neighbors. The doorbell would ring and my brothers and sister and I would scream and run to the door excited to see what treats would await us. We would cross our fingers that they were brownies or chocolate chip cookies or candy bars and hope that there wasn’t a Christmas ornament, bread, or fudge filled with nuts on the other side of the door (those things are fine and good, but as kids, we preferred the chocolaty chewy treats). We would manage to compose ourselves long enough to open the door and calmly say “Thank You. Merry Christmas!” and then rush into the kitchen to peel away the plastic wrap from the usual festive paper plate . Certain treats would be instantly devoured and some would sit on our counter for a week, nibbled at here and there. Then one day in December we would take our turn as the deliverers of “neighbor treats”, as we would call them.
The cookie recipe I have for you today is a chocolate chip cookie that has been taken up a couple notches. This soft and chewy cookie has both vanilla and caramel extracts, chunks of soft caramel, and lots of chocolate chips. It’s the kind of treat that will leave your neighbors wishing for more. And I highly recommend giving some away because it is really hard to have self control with these sitting around in your house. You will eat the whole batch if you don’t take some preventative measures. Especially if you have Christmas mugs filled with dunking milk. ( I don’t actually have any Christmas mugs, but I think it just sounds so cozy.)
I use Kraft Caramel Bits in these cookies. They are little caramel balls about the size of chickpeas. Sometimes they can be tricky to find, but I can usually find them at Wal-mart. If you can’t find them you can use the wrapped caramels. Just use kitchen shears to cut them into fourths. I use about half of a bag of the caramel bits mostly because I end up eating the other half.
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract ( I use Watkins brand)
- 1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz. Kraft caramel bits ( I can usually find them at Wal-Mart)
1. Melt the butter and set in the fridge to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix together flour, baking soda, corn starch, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until combined. Add the egg, yolk, caramel extract, and vanilla. Note: I use my caramel extract in place of vanilla and swap it out teaspoon for teaspoon, but some flavorings are super concentrated. If you have one of these really super concentrated flavorings, adjust accordingly and only add a few drops.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits. Chill dough in fridge until it is a little more firm.
6. Line pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Use a cookie scoop to place dough balls onto the pans 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 14 minutes. I know its hard, but take them out right as the edges start to firm up, even though the middle is still doughy. It will probably look underdone, but it will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Do not over cook! Make sure you leave the cookies to cool right on the pan, not on a cooling rack. This will make the texture just perfect.
7. Pour yourself a big Christmas mug of milk, sit by a fire place in a cozy chair, pull out a good book, and start dunking.
Did you know that I have a massive cookie board on Pinterest? Follow it HERE.