Caramel, sea salt, dark chocolate, pecans these ingredients together just make me happy! So why not add them together with some butter and brown sugar and get a delicious cake like soft and rich cookie? The answer is DUH YES! I love baking cookies. It is a simple dessert, snack, or treat to grab and enjoy every bite. Caramel, dark chocolate and sea salt are literally meant to be together. Those 3 ingredients are intense on their own but when put together its like this big burst of rich and elegant flavors. Whether you like salted caramel or salted dark chocolate there is something about the salt paired with these ingredients that captivates your tastebuds.
Studies have actually shown that when we add salt to sweet things it brings out the sweetness more. Salt plays a vital role in cooking and in baking. I know everyone thinks salt isn't good for us. But we need it cook and bake with. The salt that isn't good for us comes in processed foods and junk like that. But adding salt to a dish whether savory or sweet is a must. Try cooking without it. You want to eat what you made because the flavor will be bland. Using salt in baking, especially with sweets it helps our brain recognize and intensify the sweet factor. Our brain loves sweet! It can be addicting, but these salted caramel pecan chocolate chunk cookies actually aren't that sweet at all. I did that on purpose. I wanted the salt to stand out and be the forward flavor followed by the caramel (yes sweet) and the dark chocolate (no not sweet but bitter). So what you get from this rich cookie are 3 strong bold flavors that are accentuated by the salt and without the touch of the garnish of rock salt they would be muted in the cookie. Pairing ingredients together and playing around with their flavors and intensities is a fun thing to do as a chef or even a home cook. Don't be afraid to try something new in the kitchen and experiment a bit. After all isn't a kitchen a fun edible science laboratory???
Yields 12 cookies
Time 20-30 minutes
8 tablespoons butter - melted
2 large eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
190 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sea salt for garnish
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
8 caramels cut into small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet or 2 with parchment paper and put it to the side.
2. In a saute pan heat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Once the butter has melted and it looks like a dark sauce turn the heat off and leave it to the side to cool for 5-7 minutes. Once it has cooled pour it into a stand mixer with the maple syrup. Turn the mixer on low and mix it all together for about 1 minute.
3. Then add the eggs and turn the mixer on medium and mix until it is frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl measure the dry ingredients and with the mixer on slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet batter. Once a batter is formed stop mixing. It will be slightly gooey.
5. Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips, and dark chocolate chunks.
6. Scoop even amounts of cookie dough and add a pieces of the caramel on each cookie dough ball. Roll the dough using the palms of your hand and gently flatten the cookies. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with some rock salt.
7. Bake in the oven for 11-12 minutes until just golden around the edges. Remove the baking tray from the oven and let the cookies cool on a cookie rack for about 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
*** Cookies will store in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.***