Monday, December 17, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Caramel Apple Cider

I'm not a huge caramel fan because I don't like that it gets stuck in your teeth. Ick. These cookies are a nice exception, though. The original recipe suggested heating them for a few seconds in the microwave before eating, so that the caramel center softens a bit. Another suggestion was to place the cookie over a mug of warm coffee/cider/hot chocolate long enough for the center to heat.

I tried the second suggestion when I got to work the other morning. I made a cup of hot chocolate, perched my cookie on top, and began writing some tweets for the day. I looked up a few minutes later and my cookie was nowhere to be found. That's right, it melted so much that it crumpled and fell into the cup. Make sure when you heat your cookies that you pay attention!

1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 box instant apple cider mix (7.4 oz- 10 packets)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
3 c all purpose flour
1 bag kraft caramels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

With a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and apple cider packets. Beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture and continue beating until just combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Unwrap caramels. Scoop out cookie dough into balls, each about the size of a walnut. Place a caramel in the middle of each and wrap dough around it, covering completely. Place on baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies begin to brown around the edges. When cookies are done, slide parchment off of baking sheets onto the counter for cookies to cool. Allow cookies to cool on the parchment until they've cooled but are still a bit warm. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to finish cooling upside down.

Hannah's cookie note: Pay special attention to the cooling instructions! If you transfer cookies to the wire rack before they're ready, you're at risk for the caramels to fall right out from the center of the cookie! Sounds impossible, but trust me... it can happen. ;)


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