Starbuck's Inspired Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies
Forget the New Year's diets and resolutions, I say let's start 2012 off on a sweet note - with a Starbuck's inspired cookie. This past week we had some Canadian visitors and one (Burger Boy's sister) had presented me with a challenge: convert her favorite Starbucks beverage, the Salted Caramel Mocha, into a cookie bearing the same flavors. Never one to turn down a challenge, I accepted and after a little bit of work, created this recipe for Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies.
The recipe is simple enough, starting with a basic chocolate cookie, a generous amount of instant espresso powder was added to the batter to give it an intense mocha flavor. Then, after the cookies had cooled, caramel was swirled on top just before a pinch of sea salt was added, giving the cookies that desired sweet-salty combination and a gentle little pop with each bite. The key here is to get a good quality sea salt with nice big flakes so that the salt is stays visible and crunchy.
I was happy with the results and the feedback was good, these tasted very much like the popular Starbuck's holiday beverage, but if you feel like you've had your fill of cookies this holiday season or if you're sticking to a healthy resolution, be sure to stash away this recipe to try some other time.
Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
For the cookie:
1 stick butter (at room temp)
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces + 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
Caramel (recipe follows)
Enough sea salt for each cookie to get a generous pinch
Preheat oven to 375. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine. Melt 12 oz. chocolate chips, either slowly in a microwave or using a double boiler, until consistently full melted and smooth. Combine melted chocolate with egg/sugar mixture and beat until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa and espresso powder. Gently mix in the flour mixture by thirds into the egg/sugar mixture. Blend until well combined, fold in the remaining chocolate chips. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, drop batter by the teaspoon full. Bake for 8-10 minutes (the cookies will still be soft when they come out of the oven). Transfer the cookies onto a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Once the cookies have completely cooled, swirl the caramel on top with a spoon and top with a generous pinch of sea salt. Store in an airtight container.
For the caramel:
3/4 stick of butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add sugar. Stir in the milk and add the salt. Let the caramel cool to room temp before spooning over the cookies. If the caramel is a little too thick, stir in a little more dark sugar (by the 1/4 cup) until it thickens.
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