I made these cookies for our school's Harvest Fest last week, and man, they were DELICIOUS. (Not including the eyeballs, of which even our 8 year old said, "These eyeballs are NOT THAT GOOD.") I don't always care all that much about the sweets that come and go for such events, but I was very happy to have a few of these little faces left over to pay the mama tax.
cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
teaspoons pure vanilla extract
cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
packages Kraft or other similar caramels**
cup heavy cream
packages good quality milk chocolate chips
teaspoons coconut oil
Various sizes of candy eyeballs
Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center.
Place butter and sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
Add the flour and stir in gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. Gather dough into your hands and squeeze it together until it forms a ball. If you like, you can divide it into two parts, since it will roll out quite large.
Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour and gently roll dough into a 1/4-inch thick disk. Cut into 2 to 2 1/2-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter. (I made some larger and some smaller and got about 40 cookies.) You can re-roll any scraps and use them to make a few more cookies.
Transfer cookies to cookie sheets lined with parchment and [chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to help cookies retain their shape in the oven.]*
Bake 12 to 16 minutes, until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
When cookies have cooled completely, make the caramel layer by melting the unwrapped caramels and the cream in a large bowl in the microwave. Your mileage may vary, but it took a couple of minutes in my microwave, during which I stopped and stirred every 30 seconds after the initial minute. When caramel is melted, place about a tablespoon (depending on cookie size) in the center of each cookie and let it spread on its own. It won't be perfectly round, but I like that some of the caramel peeks out from under the chocolate so that people understand what they're about to eat. Let caramel set before proceeding. This should happen within a few minutes.
For the chocolate layer wash and dry the bowl used for the caramel, then melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in the same fashion. Spread about a tablespoon of chocolate onto each cookie. You can smooth it as much as you like. I don't always have a lot of patience for these things and thought (maybe to justify my impatience, but hey) that the texture gave the faces some cute individual personality.
While the chocolate is still melty, place arrange the candy eyeballs. It was warm and humid the day I made these, and the chocolate took its time hardening. You can pop them in the fridge to harden in about 10 minutes, but then bring them to room temperature with a piece of parchment covering them so they don't develop a layer of condensation. Unless you prefer your cookie faces sweaty.
* Real talk: I don't always do this, and it's fiiiiiiiine, so.
** You'll still have just about enough if you eat a couple, or so I've HEARD.
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