Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Caramel Crunch Snickerdoodles

Does anyone shop at Hannaford? I sometimes do and when I'm in there I grab their "Fresh Magazine" right up at the front. It includes some pretty awesome recipes, including these cookies. I'm in AUTUMN mode with my cooking now so this recipe was a "must-make" for me! I always thought snickerdoodles involved some sort of a nut but that could not be more wrong... Snickerdoodles are a type of sugar cookie made with cream of tartar and rolled in cinnamon sugar. For those novice bakers out there that do not know what cream of tartar is - you can find it in the spice aisle at the food store. It is an acidic kind of salt and is actually an active ingredient in baking powder. Cream of tartar is used to make sure these cookies aren't dense and it did it's job! They were both moist and chewy but the caramel gave it a nice crunch!

3 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and spray with cooking spray.

2. Prepare the caramel crunch. In a large, heavy skillet heat 1 cup of the sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to help it melt evenly. When the sugar is melted, lower heat to medium-low and cook to a golden color, about 3 to 6 minutes. Immediately pour the caramelized sugar carefully onto the prepared baking sheet. Tilt the sheet so that sugar spreads to a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch. Allow to cool until hard and cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.You will be surprised on how easy caramel is to make! It was my first time HEHE

3. Break the caramel into several pieces, then place on a cutting board and use a knife to chop into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces.

4. Preheat the oven to 325degreesF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with vegetable cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir 1/2 cup of the sugar together with the cinnamon. Set aside.

5. Make the cookies. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and remaining 11/2 cups sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until blended. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped caramel pieces.The dough will be stiff.

6. Scoop out a well-rounded tablespoon of dough and roll between your palms into a smooth ball. Roll ball in the cinnamon sugar mix. Repeat with remaining dough and place balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.

7. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, just until the edges are golden but the centers are pale and feel soft if lightly touched, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve or store in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days, or freeze.

These cookies are about 120 calories each and 5 grams of fat. Worth every calorie though, I must say! Although, do I say that about all my cookies that I bake? Either way - Tutti Mangia!

P.S. I love homemade caramel!


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