Mmm, caramel cookies…

2009 September 28

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I made “raw caramel,” the fresh caramels so popular in recent Japan, and stuffed them in cookie dough. Oh. my. god.

Full details of how to make the caramels can be found over at Just Hungry, but here’s my visual story. I couldn’t get golden syrup at my local ICA supermarket, but I really wanted to make caramel so I went with regular Swedish sirap. I couldn’t divine from the internet whether it is made from cane sugar, but it seems to have worked out all right, much to my relief.

Maki’s raw caramel (minus the golden syrup)
150 grams of syrup (from cane sugar, preferably!)
160 grams of sugar
70 grams of unsalted butter
200 grams of crème fraîche
1 tsp. sea salt

In go the sugar and syrup into a small pot.
20090929 Goo!
After about thirty minutes of stirring and boredom, they get some color and have candied enough to form firm balls when dropped in cold water.
20090929 Syrup can tan, unlike me
In went the butter and the crème fraîche and the hint of salt.
20090929 Started lumpy...
And after another long period of stirring and waiting (I had Yuki take over for a bit) it had become a lovely smooth pot of soft caramel.
20090929 Getting pretty smooth
It went into my Japanese jelly mold, which was just about the perfect size for it, and then left to harden.
20090929 It's caramel!
Cut it up with a regular table knife, wrapped it in waxed paper and an hour or two after beginning, I had a whole jar’s worth of caramel.
20090929 Dekiagari!

Once my caramels were done and I had a great pile of them, I decided to wrap some in dough and bake them up into ooey-gooey hot-caramel-filled goodness. I always keep a stock of frozen cookie dough in the freezer for just such reasons, portioned off into mini-batches. I’d much rather have five or six fresh cookies at a time then a whole big batch risking going stale (and risking me eating them all!). My basic cookie dough goes something like this:

Basic cookie dough (makes 20 to 30, depending on how big you like your cookies!)
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of cake flour (if you have it, if not just go with all-purpose flour all the way)
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cups of butter
A generous 1/2 cup of white sugar
A generous 1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla (I just throw a generous splash in there, so not a very detailed measurement…)

1. Preheat the oven if you’re going to baking right away (as opposed to freezing).

2. In one bowl, measure out your flours and baking soda and baking powder, either sifting them in together or whisking them to mix evenly. Then cream together the egg and the two sugars in another bowl. Once smooth, beat in the egg and vanilla until they are well blended. Finally stir in your flour mixture and mix well. I usually give up on the spoon by midway through and just knead the mess by hand.

3a. Freeze in palm-sized balls to have an easy stock of mini-batches (five or six cookies)

OR

3b. Mix in any desired add-ins (chocolate chips, caramel, nuts, chunks of candy bars, raisins… anything really). Then shape into small balls and bake on a sheet of parchment paper, for easy cleanup, for around 12 minutes at 190 degrees (375 F).

In the caramels go…
20090929 Raw caramel and raw dough

…and out they come again, deliciously piping hot!
20090929 Gooey

I sprinkled some sea salt on top before cooking them because I do love shiokyarameru or salty caramel, which makes the caramel flavor really pop. But Yuki said he “didn’t need” the salt, which is his way of saying he doesn’t particularly like something. But still, he is in love with these cookies at the moment and requests a fresh mini-batch most days. With a glass of cold milk, they are rather divine.

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