Caramel Frosted Cookies were inspired by some I saw in a little coffee shop on the North Shore of Chicago. I have no idea what recipe they used, but the cookies were puffy, covered with caramel frosting, and had a drizzle of chocolate. I created my own version yesterday morning, and the family gave them a big thumbs up.
These are sandy textured and crumbly, and once the caramel has set, they can be knocked around a bit, stacked, etc. In other words, they're sturdy and easy to share. The only thing I need now is a better name. They're not exactly turtles since they don't have pecans, and calling them caramel cookies might be misleading since they're not soft and chewy. Also, if you're not particularly into caramel frosting, which in my opinion is more like praline when it sets and less like chewy caramel, these cookies are great with traditional American style buttercream.
Caramel Frosted Cookies
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour 8 oz** weigh for best results
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup salted butter or add ⅜ teaspoon of salt and use unsalted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon butter flavored emulsion optional
- 4 tablespoons butter salted if possible
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of room temperature milk
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar sifted after measuring
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- Garnish: A few ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate for drizzling some flakes of kosher or sea salt
- In a small bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and cream of tartar.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy. Gradually beat in the oil, then beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Add some butter flavoring if you like.
- Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Batter should be too soft to roll -- it's similar to chocolate chip cookie dough in thickness. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes so that it's easier to shape into balls.
- When ready to bake, scoop up scant tablespoons of dough and shape into 1 inch balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment or foil lined (do not grease or use spray) baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, put the room temperature butter and both sugars in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches a boil. Remove from heat and stir in milk, then return to heat and return to a boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar. Stir vigorously, add vanilla, and continue stirring until lumps disappear and mixture starts to thicken (but not too much – it should still be runny enough to drizzle). With a tablespoon, spoon caramel frosting over cookies.
- If frosting gets hard in the pan, you can reheat it over low to medium low heat. However, it’s best to try to work quickly.
- To make the chocolate drizzle, you can melt the chocolate using your favorite method and drizzle it or pipe it on with a decorating bag. I used a heavy duty disposable Wilton decorating bag, put the chocolate directly in it, then microwaved the bag and chocolate at 50% power, kneading bag every 30 seconds, until the chocolate was melted. When chocolate was melted, I snipped off the tip and piped it over the cookies.
- I sprinkled a little salt on top of the cookies.