Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

1st Way:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract  
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice 
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramel Bits (11 oz.) or Kraft Caramels (14 oz.)
Preheat oven to 325F.  Line baking sheets with either a Silpat or parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter, sugar, salt and the contents of all 10 packets of Alpine Spiced Apple Cider and blend until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time mixing until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and blend until mixed.  Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and flour and mix until well blended.
Using a medium cookie scoop (1.5 TBS) fill the scoop level with the cookie dough.  While the cookie dough is still in the scoop, press either one unwrapped Kraft Caramel or 6-7 Kraft Caramel Bits into the center of the dough and then pinch the dough to cover the caramel.  Release the scoop of dough onto prepared cookie sheet placing about 2-inches apart.
Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, allow the cookies to partially cool on the Silpat or parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully remove from the Silpat or twist off the parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) The cookies can cool completely on the Silpat and they release without any problems but If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies, how much batter you’ve “taste tested” and how many caramels you’ve snitched from the bag before you begin.  Store in an airtight container.
Once the cookies have cooked completely, to enjoy the nice soft caramel center again either set your cookie over a nice hot cup of tea to warm up the caramel or microwave the cookie for approximately 15 seconds.

2nd Way:
These cookies are best after sitting over a warm drink for a few minutes. The caramel softens up and they turn into warm caramel apple cider heaven.

Ingredients1 cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix *Not sugar free*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. It has to be parchment this time.

2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

3. With a standard (size 50) cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.

4. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool the rest of the way upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack.

Makes 51 cookies.
Notes: If cookies get too cool before you twist them off, freeze the whole sheet for a few minutes and they’ll come right off.

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