Sunday, February 17, 2013

Salted Dark Chocolate and Caramel Shortbread Cookies

One of my bestest friends in the world just bought his first home!  I am so happy and excited for him.  When I turn into a real grown up (that day has to come eventually right?) I want him to decorate my house because his own home decor is amazing.  Amazing.  I think he could have had a successful career in design if the world of numbers and revenue accounting hadn't pulled him in so deeply.  So when his response to "What do you want for your housewarming gift?" was "sweets", I knew that I had to make something pretty.  Only pretty would do.

And pretty I did!  I found key and house shaped cookie cutters at Sur La Table and was still craving the shortbread cookies I had made a few weeks prior.

But this time around I knew that I wanted to do salted caramel and chocolate on top.  I had been planning on making this exact cookie, but with pretty circles and scallops, a long time ago but never got around to it.  But I knew that this is what the housewarming party needed.  Delicate buttery cookies melting in your mouth alongside dark chocolate,  sweet caramel and the sharp contrast of sea salt to balance it all out.

Since home is where the heart is though, I busted out a teeny tiny little cookie cutter and made some of the houses with heart cut outs.  And although I prefer the houses to the keys, the keys aren't bad at all!  They're especially cute since I used a heart instead of a circle to cut out the middle of the key.  What?  I like hearts. :)

Shortbread Cookie Recipe
See my earlier blog post, or go to original recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.

Caramel Glaze
10 oz. unwrapped caramels
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Use the double broiler method to melt caramels and half the heavy cream.  (See THIS post for details.)
2. Once melted, add in the remaining heavy cream adn whisk until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle or thick ziplock bag with the end snipped off.
3. Pipe caramel onto cookies, outlining your cookie shape first.  Fill in the rest of the cookie completely, or just with close squiggles. Let harden for a few minutes.
(Work quickly, if the caramel starts to harden simply put in microwave again for 15 seconds.)

Chocolate Glaze
10 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tblsp melted butter

1. Melt chips in microwave oven in 30 second intervals, whisking in between.  Should take approximately 2-3 minutes.
2. Add melted butter to chocolate chips and whisk.
3. Pour chocolate into a squeeze bottle or into a thick ziplock bag with the end snipped off and pipe squiggly lines on top of the the caramel.

Course Sea Salt

Finish cookies by sprinkling sea salt over cookies.

Ugh.  Sweet and salty are amazing together.  I want to sprinkle sea salt on everything now!

I am sure that you notice that there are a bunch of little hearts everywhere.  No surprise, huh? When I saw all the scraps from cutting out the houses and keys I knew that I could not waste them.   Who could resist popping one or two of these little suckers in their mouths? Not me!

The housewarming party was, of course, lovely. He is lovely.  I wish him such amazing things (joy, friendship, laughter and love -always, always love) and I know that his new home will be blessed with all of them.  I meant to take a nice little picture of him and me together that afternoon for this post.  I drank all the wine instead which resulted in my distraction with eating my weight in cheese sticks, catching up with good friends and force feeding these cookies to them. We ate a whole neighborhood of houses that day.

These were great for him and these would be perfect to make for someone in your life who is celebrating a similar milestone. Get to baking.