Brown Butter Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles

Happy New Year! New Year calls for a large variety of New Recipes! And I've got one to kick off the new year that will become a top ten favorite cookie! 





Wow, that name is a handful to take in! Have you ever heard of something so amazing and so wonderful that you just have to try it? I couldn't think of a simpler way to describe these cookies, without dropping an import element of what this cookie is all about. This is a classic snickerdoodle recipe, but it takes it up a notch because of using browned butter. This method of browning the butter creates a nutty/caramel flavor that is to die for. Then, adding the gooey caramel surprise to the middle really is what takes this recipe over the top. Of course, as a tradition snickerdoodle cookie is made, I still roll it in the cinnamon sugar blend, and top it with a little sea salt. So we are working with brown butter, we've got caramel, we've got sugar, we've got some cinnamon, and we've got salt! All these flavors, textures, and elements, all come together and make the perfect blend of sweetness.

Have you ever asked yourself, what does refrigerating the cookie dough really do? Is it really necessary to have to wait an extra hour or so for the dough to chill? If I skip it, will my cookies turn out the same? I ask myself these questions almost every time I see something call for refrigerating cookie dough. So, I did some research and here is what I found out. 
"Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread."
In this link above, PJ Hamel does all of the work for us. He looked into the science behind why the dough needs to be refrigerated and what it really does for a recipe. He also compares lengths of chilling and the benefits of it. Long story short, the chilling time is very important in a recipe! I am not going to get into it, but if you would like to learn more about it, follow the link above, if not, just take my word for it. 

Tips for this recipe:
1. When rolling the dough around the caramel, make sure no caramel is visible. This will keep all that ooey gooey caramel locked inside of the cookie. 
2. Be generous with the cinnamon sugar coating. When it cookies, a lot of that flavor gets cooked back into the dough and loses the flavor. 
3. Browning the butter is a quick process. It can go from brown to burnt in seconds. Watch it carefully and remove it from the heat as soon as it becomes brown and bubbly. Get it out of that hot pan.
4. Let the browned butter cool before adding it to the mixture. It will throw off the consistency if you do not. 
5. The plastic individual wrapped caramels like you use for caramel apples work great for this recipe. Too fancy of caramels would be too much. Keep it simple. 

Brown Butter Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, sliced and browned
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
About 1 cup caramel squares, cut into 1/4's
For Rolling the Cookies:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Sea salt, for sprinkling on top of cookies

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
2. To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until blended and smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight.
5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand and place a piece of caramel in the center of the dough. Wrap the cookie dough around the caramel, making sure the caramel is completely covered with dough.
6. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt.
7. Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

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