You know how there are some things you would move heaven and earth to have? Yeah, well the earth actually moved while I was making these cookies. While I was in the middle of boiling sugar to make caramel sauce, central NZ was rocked by yet another major earthquake, and I suddenly found myself a couple of steps away from my boiling sugar, and realising I should probably flick the gas off and head for a doorway.
Luckily no humans were harmed in the making of the cookies, and once my hands stopped shaking so hard, I even managed to save the caramel. And that whole heaven and earth thing? Well, the cookies are pretty heavenly.
I love that chocolate chip cookies made with brown sugar have a slight butterscotch flavour, but I wanted some real caramel cookies, and where better to get that flavour than homemade caramel sauce? That’s what makes these real caramel and white chocolate chip cookies.
Hard as it is to wait for these cookies, (especially once you’ve sampled the dough, if you’re that way inclined – and I am) for maximum caramel flavour you need to make the dough the day before and leave it overnight in the fridge. The upside is, the caramel sauce recipe makes much more than you need for the cookies, so you can eat it
by the spoonful on ice cream while you wait for the dough to be ready to bake. In fact (if you don’t eat it all) you can get three batches of cookies out of one batch of caramel sauce, plus a little extra left over for drizzling if you want to. Of course you can easily halve the caramel sauce recipe if you don’t want too much left over. I won’t understand why, but you can do it.
The key to getting perfect caramel sauce is taking the caramel far enough that it’s a deep golden colour, but not so far that it tastes burnt. If you haven’t made caramel before and you’re a bit wary of it, then err on the side of slightly too pale, you can always boil the sauce for a bit longer after adding the cream and other ingredients and you will squeeze a little more caramel flavour in. And hey, if I can make it during an earthquake, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Now, this recipe is for gluten-free cookies, since I was making them for the family, and I haven’t had a chance to test them with wheat flour. I’m reasonably sure they’d work without needing much tweaking (other than omitting the xanthan gum, of course), but if I get a chance to test them out then I’ll report back. In the meantime if anyone else tries them with wheat flour I’d love to know how you go!
For the caramel sauce
- 400g caster sugar
- ½ cup (125ml) water
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup or liquid glucose
- 1 cup (250ml) cream
- 50g unsalted butter, chopped
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
For the cookies
- 350g gluten free flour*
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125g soft brown sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150g caramel sauce
- 2 eggs
- 250g white chocolate chips
For the caramel sauce:
Heat the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan.
Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns a light amber colour. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want it so dark that it burns, but it needs a decent amount of colour to have a deep caramel flavour.
Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the cream. Watch out – it will splutter. Return the pan to a medium heat and bring back to the boil, stirring until smooth. Add the butter and salt and stir until the butter is melted and combined. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Cool to room temperature before using in the cookies.
For the cookies:
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and xanthan gum.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla extract and salt until light and fluffy. Mix in the caramel sauce until combined, and then add the eggs one at a time. Don’t worry if the mixture curdles.
Gradually add the flour and mix until combined. The dough will be quite soft. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight for the best caramel flavour. Bring back to room temperature (or near enough) before using.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Use a small cookie/ice cream scoop to shape the cookies (or use heaped tablespoons full) and place on a baking paper lined baking tray. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Cool on the trays for several minutes before removing to a wire rack.
These keep well in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Gluten free flours I used:
210g brown rice flour
100g tapioca flour
40g potato starch