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Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies and David Lebovitz
Makes about 1½ dozen (The original recipe says 3 dozen. They must be TINY because I only got 18)

Cookies:
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, cubed*

*Note: If you only have unsalted butter, add another pinch of salt to the heavy cream mixture.

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. (Or, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.) Let cool slightly.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and chocolate, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
5. Place about ¼ of a cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, roll dough into 1-inch balls, and then roll in sugar to coat. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Chill dough in refrigerator on baking sheets for about 20 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove chilled dough from the fridge and press your thumb into the center to make indentations. (I used my ½ tablespoon measuring spoon instead.) Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press centers down again. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (If centers have puffed up again, press down one more time.)
7. Make caramel: In a small saucepan, heat the cream with 1 tablespoon of butter, vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
8. In a heavy saucepan with tall sides, fitted with a candy thermometer, heat corn syrup and sugar, stirring gently until sugar melts. Once sugar is melted, try not to stir. Simply swirl the pan gently every now and then to ensure even heating.
9. Cook until syrup reaches 310F and has turned the color of an older penny. Remove from the heat and pour the cream mixture in slowly. The mixture will boil up quickly, so be careful. Stir until smooth. Place back over the heat and cook until the mixture reaches 248F.
10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, mixing until it is melted and smooth. Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before filling cookies.
11. Using a spoon, pour caramel into indentations. Allow to set for about 5 minutes before sprinkling with sea salt. Let cool completely.

Brought to you by The Busty Baker (http://www.bustybaker.com)
Original Post: http://ladolcivita.blogspot.com/2012/02/chocolate-salted-caramel-thumbprints.html

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