Holiday Cookie Week: Salted Caramel Shortbread (and a sweet surprise!)

This morning I awoke to a Tweet from my good bloggy friend, Lindsay who writes The Lean Green Bean.

Um...what??!! I was so wonderfully surprised to find that some of my best blog ladies have put together an amazing virtual baby shower for me today and I'm just overwhelmed. My favorite thing about blogging has been the incredible community of people, all of whom are so encouraging, so genuine and though I've never even met some of them in person, such great friends who I look forward to reading about and interacting with every day! So thank you, amazing, wonderful, glorious ladies for making me feel super loved today :) And I cannot wait to make all of these recipes! Yowza!

Here are the posts - be sure to head over and check them out!:

Baby Shower Chocolate Clusters from Keep It Sweet Desserts

Candy Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookie Bars from The Lean Green Bean

Garlic Mini Monkey Bread from Yums and Loves

 [Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple-Marshmallow Filling ] from Eats Well with Others

Thanks again girls! Hopefully we will all get to meet someday :) And a super duper special thanks to Lauren @ Keep It Sweet Desserts for hosting and organizing this; Lauren was my very first blog friend and the first whom I've actually met in person...Lauren, you rock!!

Meanwhile, my glorious Holiday Cookie Week continues and today I'm featuring these pretty little salted caramel shortbread cookies that we whipped up on Sunday during our annual holiday bakeathon at my mom's. We had tried these for the first time last year and we knew immediately that these would need to be added to our permanent collection.

 

The buttery shortbread is mostly crisp with just a hint of softness in the middle. They are then topped with smooth, sultry melted caramels, drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. Can you imagine anything better?!

Admittedly, they are a little more labor intensive since the dough requires being rolled out and cookie cuttered into rounds. Is it me or is that whole thing just a bit intimidating? But I promise you, these sweet and salty shortbread cookies are so, so worth it!

 

Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies

*Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 1/2 C + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (divided)

3/4 C granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1 (14oz.) bag caramels, unwrapped

2 Tbsp milk

4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp coarse sea salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the 1 1/2 C butter on high until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until completely combined. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour. 

Divide the dough in half and place one half in between two sheets of wax paper. Roll the dough into 1/4" thickness. Using a 2 1/2" cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2" apart. Roll out any scraps and repeat. Repeat with second half of dough.

Bake 12 - 14 minutes or until set and just golden. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks.

Meanwhile, in a microwavable bowl, melt the caramels and milk for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Stir the caramel mixture every 30 seconds until softed, melted and spreadable. Spread on the cookies.

In another microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate and butter for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stopping to stir the mixture every 30 seconds. Drizzle the chocolate over the caramel and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Eat immediately!...errr, I mean, save them for Christmas or other fun holiday celebration ;)