A large number of people I know go bananas for anything chocolate. Don’t hear me wrong, I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate – the higher the cocoa the better in my book. But when it comes to anything with caramel, now my ears perk up and my mouth begins to salivate. Ever since being a kid, I have loved caramel. If any of you remember the caramel sundea that was served at McDonalds – it was the best. This was before it turned to be frozen yogurt and it was real ice cream. It had a distinct creaminess that was out of this world and that hot caramel topping – for fast food it was delicious.
Today caramel has gone designer. All the rage is salted caramel now. I must confess, it is dangerously delicious and quite addicitive. The funny thing is that it is super easy to make and keeps in the refrigerator for a lifetime, it seems. When I finally opened my February issue of Martha Stewart Living, I could not help but have my eyes drawn to these delightful cookies. The word salted caramel and coconut drew me in and to imagine that this was rolled up into a buttery thumbprint cookie – now I am in cookie heaven.
I modified the recipe by adding more vanilla and making my own salted caramel sauce along with cutting the cooking time. The result was amazing and highly addictive. Since I knew I would not have any self control, I opted to bring them to one of my offices and share. Later in the day, I received this email from Redford who I work with. I just had to share with all of you.
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 3:40 PM
Subject: OMG ...
They were amazing! I just finished the last caramel-macaroon-fabulousness.
Ate more than half in the bowl... you can ask Matt and Spencer. You made it a really, really good Monday :o)
Salted Caramel and Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
Makes approximately 54 cookies
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. Table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten + 1 tablespoon water
12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Large, flaky fleur de sel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap or into two balls, then roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. I used a small cookie scoop to ensure each cookie was uniform in size. Dip each ball in beaten egg with water, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. I used the end of a rounded knife to push the dough down. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 ½ C. sugar
¼ C. water
½ t. lemon juice
1 C. heavy cream
2 t. Grey Salt
Stir sugar, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat; boil without stirring until the mixture turns deep amber brown. This should take about 9 minutes. Take off the stove and hold over the sink before pouring the cream mixture into the sugar mixture. It will boil and bubble. Once calmed down, add grey salt and set back on the burner and reduce slightly over medium low heat for about 8 minutes. Chill until thickened. Put into another container and slightly heat when ready to use.
Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled