I recently received a small bag of caramel hard candies for my birthday. They went straight to my baking shelf — I love to try new things with caramel flavors and wondered how I could repurpose them.
I looked into melting them down or turning them into a frosting. But ultimately, the easiest solution seemed to be to crush them up and let them shine in cookies.
This recipe was based on one for Wonderful Werther’s Cookies on the blog “My Nana’s Kitchen.” Her’s was fairly simple: buttery cookies that included crushed-up candies. I decided to adjust some of her measurements and then add dried cranberries and walnuts for extra texture. I also contemplated using chocolate chips or M&Ms instead.
Placing a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on your cookie sheet is really important. The caramel melts and then gets crispy again, making a delightful little ring around the edge. It’s also important to get them off your cookie sheet as soon as you can after baking. They go from perfect to overcooked quickly, and no one likes burned caramel.
This is a fairly small recipe that makes about 36 cookies. I used a two-teaspoon cookie scoop. You won’t want them to be much larger, because they’re quite rich.
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups flour
15 hard caramel candies (this was the number in my 2.65-ounce bag)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Crush hard candies, either by placing them unwrapped in a freezer bag and whacking it with a skillet or by whizzing them in a food processor.
Cream butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer. Add egg and vanilla. When fully combined, add baking powder then salt, then gradually mix in flour. Once fully combined, fold in crushed candies, cranberries and walnuts.
Spoon onto baking sheet covered in parchment.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, watching carefully starting at about 11 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.
Meg Dickinson is a communications professional who spends many waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.