Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies (Plus BONUS Gluten Free Version)

Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies1

It was Independence Day and we were gearing up for our annual BBQ and Ka-Boom Party. It took me a while to get everything in order since fatigue would set in without notice. Once it was finally all set, I anxiously awaited our guests, especially Spunky Girl.

Mystery Man and I had been keep my pregnancy a secret, as most people do for the first trimester. But, she was the one friend that I looked forward to sharing my news, and I knew she would keep it quiet until I was ready.

Friends and neighbors started piling in. Family by family they handed me covered dishes, grabbed a cold drink, and headed out to the heat of the back deck to the smell of meat on the grill.

The moment Spunky Girl arrived we headed upstairs to my closest for our continuous exchange of borrowed clothes. I gave here my ‘I know something you don’t’ slanted grin. She took the bait and asked what was up. As I shared the news, suddenly, her face started to change. A ‘I know something you don’t’ slanted grin came over her.

“No!”

“Yes!”

Not only were we both keeping a secret, our due dates were within two weeks.

As we shared in the journey of pregnancy, we also shared our most lethal cravings. Spunky Girl brought these cookies to me and I was hooked with the first bite. You obviously do not have to be pregnant to enjoy, but if you crave a chocolaty, salty, caramel trifecta on occasion, these are your cure.

Keep scrolling for the Gluten Free option…

Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour, plus 1/4 cup
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Heath bars, chopped, or 1 bag Heath chips (or skip the Heath topping and opt for salt flakes)
6 rolls Rollo Caramel Chewy candies

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a stand-mixer bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar.. Mix on medium for about one minute or until mixture is fluffy, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla. Scrape down bowl if needed.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
  • With the mixer on low, add flour mixture a small amount at a time making sure each addition is mixed in thoroughly before adding more. (if you have a splash guard for your mixer, now would be a great time to use it.)
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place Heath pieces in a small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Measure out chilled dough with a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop. Wrap each portion around a Rollo candy, totally encasing the candy with the dough and rolling it into a ball.
  • Press each ball into the Heath mixture, covering just 1/2 of the ball (or sprinkle the top with a bit of salt.)
  • Place three inches apart on a cookie sheet, Heath, or salt, side up.
  • Bake 7-10 minutes. Cookies should look cracked and slightly undercooked in the center.
  • Allow cookies to cool five minutes before transferring to a rack. (This is important – if you place them on the rack too soon, the caramel will run out the bottom and through the rack onto your counter.)

NOTES: Can be transformed into a chocolate/mint cookie by substituting mint Hershey kisses for the Rollos, and crushed candy canes for the Heath topping.

GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate (chips, or chopped)
4 ounces gluten free flour blend**
3/4 ounce unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup packed) light brown sugar
1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted, then slightly cooled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 Heath bars, chopped, or 1 bag Heath chips (or skip the Heath topping and opt for salt flakes)
(Check your Heath bar label for gluten contents!)
3  rolls Rollo Caramel Chewy* candies

* Although Rollo Caramel Chewy candies are not labeled gluten free, the ingredient list does not reflect any gluten. As always, do your own research for gluten free items and substitute accordingly.

**Gluten Free Flour Blend

24 ounces white rice flour (4 ½ cups, plus 1/3 cup) (one bag of Bob’s Red Mill brand)
7 ½ ounces brown rice flour (1 2/3 cups)
7 ounces potato starch (not potato flour) (1 1/3 cup)
3 ounces tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) (3/4 cup)
¾ ounce nonfat milk powder (3 tablespoons)

Preparation:

  • Microwave semisweet chocolate in a bowl at 50 percent power, thirty second sessions, until melted (stirring between sessions). Let cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together measured flour blend, cocoa, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum, set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, oil, melted butter, vanilla, and espresso powder.
  • Whisk in slightly cooled chocolate. Combine until smooth.
  • With rubber spatula, incorporate the flour mixture until a sticky dough forms and no white streaks are left behind.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
    (Do not short change the resting period of the dough, or the cookies will be slightly gritty and not as chewy.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Measure out chilled dough with a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop. I find applying vegetable spray to the scoop helps keep the dough from sticking. Wrap each portion around a Rollo candy, totally encasing the candy with the dough and rolling it into a ball.
  • Press each ball into the Heath mixture, covering just 1/2 of the ball (or sprinkle the top with a bit of salt.)
  • Place three inches apart on a cookie sheet, Heath, or salt, side up.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes. Cookies should look cracked and slightly undercooked in the center.
  • Allow cookies to cool five minutes before transferring to a rack. (This is important – if you place them on the rack too soon, the caramel will run out the bottom and through the rack onto your counter.)

NOTES: Can be transformed into a chocolate/mint cookie by substituting mint Hershey kisses for the Rollos, and crushed candy canes for the Heath topping. Again, check any substitutions for gluten contents.

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