Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Sea Salt

A day in the life of a meeting planner...

...just kidding I wouldn't do that to you.  Well in my real world, real job, 2015 has been officially kicked off with a week in Phoenix.  I had such high hopes going into this meeting that it would be a nice break from the cold; I was dreaming of mid-70's and sunny.  However, it was more like the mid-60's windy and chill...especially since I had only packed skirts to go with my work cardigans.  It really was actually beautiful, and great to kickoff the new year of meetings.  Overall only 20 more weeks of meetings to go now out of the 22 this year.  Granted I am thankfully only going to be at 9 of them since I have such an awesome team.  It really is fun though, even if we do work crazy hours sometimes.  

It's warm enough in Phoenix...most of the time...for the flowers to bloom and the oranges to grow.

Between the crazy hours, before and after meeting weeks, I always just have to make time to bake.  I had made these cookies in November to take to a meeting out California, but the pictures I took were pretty terrible.  So, this past weekend when I was given the perfect opportunity to make them again, I said why not?  This time though, I added a drizzle of caramel which took them over the top.  This is definitely a great standby chocolate chip cookies recipe.  They are soft, chewy and if you prefer gooey just under cook them a bit.  Enjoy!

I went ahead and formed dough balls because I was trying to read between baking the cookies.  I like doing this too because in the end it saved me time and allowed me to do other tasks while the cookies were in the oven.

Caramel Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies: (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)
*makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks
1 Tablespoon sea salt
*Optional: Almost Burnt Caramel Sauce

Almost Burnt Salted Caramel Sauce: (recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker adapted to make a smaller quantity)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons good-quality salted butter
1⁄4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. 

3.  Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

4.  Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

5.  Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. If you want the caramel on top, drizzle with the caramel sauce.  Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  Enjoy!

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