Just what you’ve been waiting for… another salted caramel treat! I’m on a roll, what can I say. Also, I love salt with all my sweets so get used to it.
What’s especially wonderful about these little buggers is how easy they are. They take about 30 minutes start to finish and are beginner level.
They can also be done as plain peanut butter cookies if you want to leave the salted caramel off, but I’d have to say we can’t be friends anymore if you do that. Unless you’re allergic, in which case I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar (I used white, but light brown would make for a nice, more chewy cookie)
1 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
2-3 Tbsp chopped peanuts
1 cup caramel chips
2 Tbsp milk
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (I highly recommend this brand, but at the very least it should be a flaked salt).
Large mixing bowl (for cookies)
2 baking sheets
2 cooling racks
Medium microwave-safe bowl (for caramel)
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350F or 175C.
In your large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg and mix in the the sugar, peanut butter, and baking soda (bi-carb soda) until well combined. It will be a little grainy from the sugar, that’s ok. Add in your chopped peanuts. These are optional, but they add great texture to the cookie. Hell, throw in any kind of chopped nut… or if you’re looking for a sugar high get some mini chocolate chips in there too. I’d go dark if adding chocolate, especially because of the sweetness of the caramel topping.
Next, form the dough into Tablespoon size balls and press down lightly on the top of each one with a fork for that classic peanut butter cookie look… or in this case to make more spaces for the caramel to sneak into to. Mmmm, caramel…
Place the balls (yields about 20 depending on your size) on two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Now, when it comes to my oven, I have to rotate the top and bottom sheets halfway through to make sure they come out even… you know the dance, flip ’em, switch ’em, rotate them however your oven dictates. The color changes quickly so if you like them looking matchy-matchy then keep a close eye.
Once baked, transfer the cookies to their cooling racks and let cool for at least 5 minutes. In addition to keeping the baking sheets clean, a bonus feature with parchment paper is that you can transfer the whole sheet worth of cookies to the racks in one whack. You’ll want to make sure they’re properly cooled before adding the caramel topping or things could get messy. And ugly. No one likes an ugly cookie.
Once they cookies are cooled, go ahead and make your caramel topping. Pop your caramel chips and milk into your microwave-safe dish and nuke for a minute. When you take them out of the microwave they’ll probably still be struggling to hold their shape so whisk them up until smooth. If you need to add a touch more milk, go for it.
Now that the caramel topping is ready you’ve got to move a bit quickly before it starts to harden. If you want, you can split the caramel recipe into two batches so you’re not racing the clock.
With a small spoon heap a dollop of caramel into the middle of each cookie and spread it around a bit. If you want to add some drizzle, knock yourself out. Do whatever you like with the caramel but I wouldn’t recommend covering the entire cookie because it could become overpowering. Yes, I said it. It’s possible to have too much caramel.
Once the caramel is on, sprinkle a pinch of your flaky sea salt on each one. Again, Maldon is the best and I highly recommend it. I mean, there’s really no excuse not to because if I can find it in my neighborhood grocer here in Perth, West Australia – the most isolated city it the world – then you can find it too.
Now eat a cookie and be proud.
If you plan to package the rest up, let cool completely and avoid stacking. If you need to stack just slip a piece of parchment between each layer. And don’t seal them too tight, because you’ll be breaking into the package every fifteen minutes for the next hour. Truth.