These bite sized cookies are AMAZING! Chocolate shortbread cups cooked in mini muffin tins filled with fresh caramel and topped with a bit of vanilla salt. Great for sharing, or not. This recipe makes 48 cookies.
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
48 dark chocolate chips or chunks
Caramel (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon vanilla salt (see Hints)
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter and all dry ingredients in a food processor bowl. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, pulse occasionally. Mixture should be crumbly. With processor running, add half of water. Add additional water slowly as needed until dough forms a ball. Turn dough onto a floured board and pinch off tablespoon size chunks. Roll into a ball and drop into mini muffin tins. Press into cup shapes with a wooden dowel or by hand. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from tins and place on a cooling rack. Drop a chocolate chunk into hot cups. Fill with hot caramel and allow to cool slightly. Top with a sprinkling of vanilla salt.
1/2 cup raw sugar (white sugar will work)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup cream
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, scrap down sides of pot and cook until soft ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Hints: The butter works best if it is softened. Do not over bake the cups or they will be too hard. The chocolate chunks can be omitted if desired, but they add a nice texture and intensify the chocolate flavor. A candy thermometer is good but you can check the caramel by dropping a spoonful into a mug filled with cold water and checking to see if it makes a soft ball, one that will begin to loose it shape right away. You don't want to get it too hard or the cookies will be hard to chew. You can also omit the salt on top. Not everyone is on the salted caramel train, which I understand. However, it is really good. Make vanilla salt just like vanilla sugar--split a vanilla bean and place it in a glass container, cover with salt (or sugar) and allow to stand for several days. Lavender salt is also tasty and would be good with the caramel here.
This recipe is for the girls at the flower shop. It is hard work there, especially this time of year. They do beautiful work and are delightful. You ladies are "d' bomb"!