Monday, December 26, 2011

Caramel Pecan Brownie Chip Cookies

These cookies were inspired by my two friends MLJ and BMF.  MLJ loves nuts in here cookies.  BMF loves chocolate in her cookies, followed by some nuts but not as much as chocolate.  Each year I make BMF and MLJ cookies for Christmas.  Usually, they are some form of chocolate and nut cookies—Walnut or Pecan Chocolate Chip are pretty much standard.

This year, I wanted to change it up, giving MLJ and BMF the nuts and chocolate they are used to in a completely new way.  Enter my favorite cookie creation of 2011, the Brownie Chip cookies.  Brownie Chip cookies offer the cewy, cakey, decadent texture of a brownie, in the crisp, yet soft texture of cookie.  It is really the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things to bake.

To take the Brownie Chip cookies to another level, I made the brownie chips from Caramel Pecan Brownies.  I also added in extra pecan pieces to the cookie batter.  I had the intention of adding chocolate chips to the cookie batter as well, but after over stuffing the batter with brownie chips, I could not (with a good cookie baker conscious) add another drop of stuff into the batter without the cookie not holding together while bake.

Because of the additions to the batter, these cookies took a while to bake and I was worried I over baked them, resulting in hard cookies.  However, upon cooling and doing my customary break one cookie in half to check for softness, they were perfectly soft and tasted amazing.  Picture a turtle candy hiding in a brownie that collectively sought refuge in a chocolate chip cookie; that is what these cookies taste like :-)

Caramel Pecan Brownie Chip Cookies

Brownie Ingredients:
1 Brownie Recipe (I used Baker’s One Bowl Brownie Recipe.  My tried and true favorite.)
1 Package Caramel Bits
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 cup (or more Pecans)

Cookie Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) Butter, at room temperature
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg or Egg Replacer
1-2 TBS Dry Milk Powder (optional)
1 cup Bread Flour
1 1/4 cup Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt

3 cups Brownie Chips
Pecans & Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Prepare brownies according to instructions for a 9x13inch pan.
2. Melt caramel bits with 1/3 cup heavy cream.
3. Mix pecan pieces into melted caramel.
4. Drop spoonfuls of the pecan caramel mixture into the brownie batter.
5. Swirl the pecan mixture into the brownie mixture with a butter knife.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with only moist crumbs, no batter.
7.  Cool completely in pan.
8. Remove from pan and cut rectangle in half.  Half will be used to make brownie chips, the other half can be enjoyed as is.
9. Cut the half pan into little pieces about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch in size.
10. Place pieces on a parchment lined cookie sheet in one flat layer and place in freezer.  Freeze until completely frozen.

To make cookies:
11. Preheat oven to 350F.
12. Cream together butter and both sugars.
13. Add vanilla, egg replacer, and dry milk powder and mix together.
14. Combine flours, baking powder and soda, and salt, then mix with butter mixture.
15. Stir in brownie chip pieces (and pecans and chocolate chips, if you are adding them).
16. Scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Flatten cookies slightly with hands.
17. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes.  Allow to cool on the parchment.

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