These cookies are my Christmas gift to you.
The dark chocolate brownie cookies on their own are pretty spectacular. As you can see from the photos, they have that chewy, craggy, cracked edge thing going on that makes brownies so awesome (and the reason why brownie edge pans exist). And then they are fudgy, soft and intensely chocolately on the inside. You could just make the brownie cookie part of these and make a darn good cookie.
I like that the caramel in these is a total surprise. Looking at the outside of these cookies, you’d probably never guess there was a pocket of caramel-y goodness waiting for you inside.
Depending on the softness of caramels you use (I used Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels), these cookies will be nice and gooey even at room temperature, but for optimal decadence, I recommend heating them up just a touch before eating. Five or ten seconds in the microwave does wonders.
I’ll be the first to admit that this batter is a bit…strange to work with. When you’re mixing it up, you’re going to look back at the recipe a good dozen times and think, “Now, that just can’t be right.” But it is!
When you first mix up the batter, it’s going to be super thin and liquidy—think cake batter. Something you’d never be able to form into a cookie shape, let alone smoosh around a caramel. But as the batter rests and chills in the fridge, it thickens up something fierce, and ends up turning into the consistency of fudge. It’s still a touch sticky to deal with, but with damp hands, you can make it work. And a little bit of cookie dough on your hands is totally worth it for these intensely chocolate cookies.
I’ve talked in previous cookie posts about the importance of watching your cookies like a hawk while they’re in the oven to make sure they end up soft and chewy, and that’s even more important with dark-colored cookies like these. It’s almost impossible to tell when these start to brown at all, so you’re really testing doneness based on texture and jiggle. You want to pull these when the tops just begin to crack and crinkle, but they still feel very liquidy.
No worries, even though they feel that way, these cookies aren’t raw in the middle. That’s just the caramel that has turned to liquid—it’ll solidify back up as the cookie cools. Because of all that liquid deliciousness in the middle of these cookies, they are pretty fragile when hot, so I recommend letting them cool almost completely on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish the job. If you do it too early, you’ll leave half of your caramel center on your cookie sheet. Sad panda.