Chocolate-Caramel Sandwich Cookies

This post is dedicated to Ben of What’s Cooking? who rated my little corner of Food Land in Bloggsville as "Excellent!" He is a fellow Daring Baker, and is gracious enough to stop in at both of my blogs regularly and has more than one of his own (which isn’t easy!)  So cheers, Ben, and thanks for making me grin ear to ear.  I’ll pass this along to a few more deserving foodies at the end.  Enjoy!

When I was growing up, we had almost no variety in the kitchen.  I know that part of it was because there simply wasn’t the incredible selection we have available today with almost everything we can purchase in a grocery store.  The other reason is that there wasn’t much money to purchase treats and snacks with.  When a beverage was in the refrigerator besides milk, it was most likely Kool-aid.  If there was something refreshing in the freezer for a hot day, it was probably your basic two-stick Popsicle.  If cookies were around, they were always Oreos, and as much as I can tell you that I did "unscrew" the top off before licking the creamy white center, they weren’t something I couldn’t live without.  And dipping them in milk didn’t help, because I’ve never been someone who dunks food into a beverage.

In this February’s issue of Food & Wine, however, I did find on the very last page reserved for the publication’s pithy "Last Bite," Rachel Thebault’s version of an Oreo:  Chocolate-Caramel Sanwich Cookie.  The photo was amazing and as I gazed at it wondering what excuse I could come up with so that I could try them, I  knew that the rich caramel sandwiched between the chocolate wafer cookies and that thick swirl of dark chocolate  coating each half was going to be nothing like any Oreo I’d ever eaten.

In case my recent Mediterranean Food Fest wasn’t enough to help you understand how driven I can be, know that these cookies were to be our dessert that night, and I just couldn’t pull it off.  I got the wafers made, but the idea of standing in front of a pan making caramel wasn’t going to fly after I’d decided to make pita bread.  So I cooled the wafers and sealed them in a zip lock bag until yesterday when I finished the job promising to bring a few to a Friday afternoon girls’ wine and appetizers session at a friend’s house.

Needless to say, they were quite the way to end a relaxing Friday evening, and even better with my coffee this morning.  There’s a nice crunch biting through the chocolate and into the cookie that reminds my 15-year-old of a Twix candy bar.  And then your teeth sink into that amazing caramel that just sends you over the edge as you chew and marvel over the flavor combination.  Totally delicious.

Some comments on making the caramel:

This caramel is quite interesting to make and somewhat different from any I’ve made before.  I’m used to letting the sugar melt, leaving it alone, and perhaps washing down the sides of the pan from time to time.  But the cream went into this right from the start, and stirring was expected.  The key was to keep an eye on the temperature of the mixture waiting until it reached 250 degrees F.  I didn’t keep close track of the amount of time this process took, but an estimate would be about 15-20 minutes. It does bubble vigorously, and splatters from time to time.  Most of the color comes in during the last 5 minutes.

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The recipe asks for a 10-inch square pan, oiled and lined on the bottom and two sides of the pan before pouring the caramel into it to cool.  Since I have a couple of 10-1/2 inch square silicone pans I thought I’d use one of those instead of going through the trouble of the oiling and papering.  I did have some concerns about whether the caramel would come out readily and considered using cooking spray on the silicone, but didn’t.  And…I probably should have, even with the silicone pan.  It didn’t exactly stick, but it got my heart beating while I was coaxing the edges to come away from the bottom of the pan.
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I used the same fluted cutter to form the caramel centers for the cookies, and did use cooking spray to ease the process.  The caramel is somewhat like a flexible Sugar Daddy.  It’s sticky enough that in order to keep the disk as perfect as possible I pushed gently on the caramel to remove it from the cutter each time.  This took much longer that I thought it would, but that’s most likely because I have absolutely no patience.


After forming the sandwich cookies, I dipped them in the chocolate which was interesting because it was very thick — and yes, just like the photo in the magazine, but not something that can be done as quickly as I’d like.  All good things come with time, or something like that, right?


So into the fridge to set the chocolate, collect a few to take to my friends, and voila!  Yumminess.  Seriously.  After I tried the first one, I thought that a dip in pistachios would have been scrumptious.


You know, just for a few more calories and a bit o’ protein?

Now, to spread some appreciation on to people who have taken LOTS of time over the months to visit my site and comment on my blog — I just wanted to say thanks and to let you know how much you are admired for being the dedicated and EXCELLENT foodie bloggers that you are:

Jenny at All Things Edible who is needs some hugs right now after dealing with some back problems.  Send her some cheer so she can be up and cooking again!

Cheryl at Gruel Omelet who has a steady roll of droolworthy sweets to take a gander at.

Deborah at Taste and Tell who is more of a savory cook like me and who puts me to shame with all her blog activity.  Unbelievable!

Susan at Wild Yeast who is an amazing bread foodie with a blog that spells it all out if you want to learn how to get bread right.

And Peabody, of course.  But you guys already know that, right?  The Culinary Concoctions that come out of her kitchen are amazing!