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{gluten free}

Chocolate Caramel Crinkles Each Christmas my mother-in-law bakes sugar cookies with a chocolate kiss in the middle called Peanut Butter Blossoms. Each Christmas I bake at least a dozen different types of cookies, but it’s the chocolate-kiss cookie that always disappears first. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a competitive streak. I even compete against myself. How could I make a cookie that rivals my mother-in-law’s? To make a better cookie, I decided it needed to be chocolate, not peanut butter. A chocolate cookie with a chocolate kiss in the center? How about a fudge-like cookie, a crinkle cookie. How about a crinkle cookie with a chocolate kiss? Who doesn’t like chocolate-filled chocolate? While out shopping for kisses, what to my wandering eyes did appear? A caramel-filled version. Now we’re talking genius.

I’ve got an obsession with caramel. And I’m a caramel snob. I can’t get enough of the ooey gooey goodness, and I’m not talking the kind that comes in the caramel-colored plastic container. That’s the kind I send in for elementary school ice cream socials. I make my own salted caramel sauce, naturally using fleur de sel (French sea salt), and my caramel candies must be from the Brittany region of France. I needed to let go of my caramel snobbiness. I reluctantly picked up two bags and put it in m y cart. Turns out, they’re pretty good. I used fleur de sel in the crinkle batter to help me get over myself and my caramel snobbiness. It gave me a hint of French flavor.

Crinkle cookies are easy and fun. As they bake, the cookies puff up and crack. These are my new favorites. I’m not sure how many other types of cookies I’ll make this holiday. This could be it. And this one will be a strong competitor on the family holiday dessert table.

Bring these to your cookie swap. Everyone will love you. Be sure to leave these out for Santa, too.

If you don’t need to make gluten free, just use regular all-purpose flour and eliminate the xanthum gum. The batter needs to chill for at least two hours. I made my batter last night and baked the cookies this morning. This batch made about 48 large cookies. You don’t want to skimp on the dough – you want to be sure the dough blankets the kiss well, otherwise you’ll lose some of the ooey gooey goodness as it leaks out of the cookie. And seriously, let them cool before you bite into one. You’ll need some ice for the burn.

Chocolate Caramel Crinkles

Covering chocolate goodness with powdered sugarWhat you need:

  • 4 c gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 c unsweetened cocoa powder, good quality
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp fleur de sel (French sea salt)
  • 1 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 c pure cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 48 chocolate-covered caramel candies, unwrapped

What you do:

  • In lg bowl, combine flour, xanthum gum, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In mixer bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat until pale.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Form large ball and wrap dough in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate at least two hours.
  • Heat oven to 350°.
  • Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place powdered sugar in small, deep bowl.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator.
  • Flour your hands to keep dough from sticking.
  • Using cookie scoop, scoop dough, place between your palms and flatten into disc. If you don’t have a scooper, estimate about 2 tbs worth of dough – you need enough to fully wrap the candy.
  • Place chocolate-covered caramel in center.
  • Wrap dough around it, forming a ball.
  • Roll between palms to smooth out and wrinkles.
  • Re-flour hands as needed.
  • Roll ball in powdered sugar a few times.
  • Place on baking sheet.
  • Bake about 8-10 min.
  • Cool on baking sheet about 5 min then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.