fat free opinions on a food centric life

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Orange Mascarpone Cream

It was only a matter of time before I gave into temptation and changed one of the cookie recipes I’ve been sampling from Bon Appetit’s Holiday Cookie assortment this year.  Actually, that’s only partially true.  The collection includes several mix and drop cookies, and I strayed early on to experiment with a recipe for the perfect oatmeal cookie that I may share, but I digress.

When I saw the festive-looking Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies, I truly wanted to try them — but without the peppermint. I decided that if a hazelnut chocolate chip cookie could be classified as a holiday cookie, then why not chocolate and caramel?  All I needed to do was find a different filling for them since peppermint and caramel aren’t flavors I’d want to sample in one bite.

There happened to be some mascarpone in the fridge, and if I used a few drops of…

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Orange Mascarpone Cream

For the cookies…

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

For the filling…

  • 4 oz. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 4 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. orange extract
  • One bad of hard caramel candies, crushed

Directions for the cookies…

  • Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in medium bowl. In electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients; beat until blended. Chill dough at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of a decorative mold or drinking glass, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack). Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not overbake or cookies will become too crisp). Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.
Directions for the filling…
  • Mix the butter and cheese until well blended.  Add the powdered sugar and mix well.  Pour in the flavorings and whip until fluffy

Spread about 2 T of filling on to one cookie and gently press with a second.  Roll the cookie in the crushed caramel candies and enjoy.

  • I have quite a few old metal gelatin and cookie molds that are sadly quite under used so I was happy to be able to use the outside of one to create the swirl effect in the cookie.  Ironically, the pattern reminds me of the swirl on a peppermint candy.
  • The cookies are chewy, so work nicely with the texture of the filling.
  • I used Werther’s hard caramel candies and the end of my rolling pin to gently tap and crush.  They shatter a bit too effectively and if you’re not careful, you’ll have dust.
  • The mascarpone cream recipe was adapted from this one sans the orange extract.  I halved the recipe in this write up because I have quite a bit of it left over.  If you’re going to use the orange — which is good — use only a tiny bit.
  • The caramels provide a pleasant crunch to the cookie, but the flavor gets a bit lost in all the sweetness of the filling.  Honestly, a nice buttercream would be more work, but a better filling.  I’m just not a fan of powdered sugar anything.
  • It would be fun to roll these in other types of hard candy, nuts, jimmies, or whatever strikes your sweet holiday baking fancy.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Mascarpone Cream

Don’t forget to check out my fellow cookie bakers this holiday season.  Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Courtney of Coco Cooks, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining who are all returning this year, and Michelle of Big Black Dog, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Renee of Flamingo Musings, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project who will be joining us this year.  A special nod goes to Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes who started the group last year, but cannot join in on the craziness this year.