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Brown Butter Sea Salt Butterscotch Cookies

Serves Makes about 28 cookies     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Two 7-ounce packages Chocolate-Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels, divided (from Trader Joe's, or you can buy them online )
  • coarse sea salt, or other coarse salt

Instructions

  1. In a small heavy-bottom saucepan, add 3/4 cup unsalted butter. Turn the heat to medium. Let the butter melt, stirring the pan occasionally. After a few minutes the butter will start to foam. Keep stirring every now and then. When the foam starts to subside, watch carefully to see the milk solids start to brown. The butter will stop smelling like plain butter and will smell nutty. Once browned, pour the butter immediately into a large bowl or stand mixer. Go here if you have never browned butter.
  2. Meanwhile, add the 1/4 cup Crisco to a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat well, scraping the sides and bottom.
  3. When the butter has browned, immediately add it to the sugar mixture. (The butter might burn if you leave it in the pan. If you sugar mixture isn't ready, pour it into a bowl.) Beat the butter into the sugar.
  4. Let the butter cool for a few minutes, then add the egg and egg yolk, mixing well. (Or don't wait, but add them while you have the mixer on so they don't curdle.)
  5. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour (spooned and leveled!), baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just barely combined.
  7. Dump the caramels into a separate small bowl. Use scissors to split the caramels in half.
  8. Add 3/4 of the chopped caramels to the dough, and stir them in gently. If your dough still feels hot enough that it will melt the caramels, refrigerate it for a few minutes, then stir in the caramels.
  9. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days. (Or do the freezer trick if you are feeling really impatient: Form the cookies and place them carefully in a large ziplock bag, then freeze for at least 30 minutes. Bake as usual. You can freeze leftover dough-balls for up to 3 months, and have these cookies in your mouth in 10 minutes flat.)
  10. Use a 2-inch cookie scoop (or your hands) to form the cookies. If there is a chunk of caramel on the bottom, "patch" it with more dough (See photos below). Space them about 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchment-paper lined cookie sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are no longer shiny on top. Err on the side of underbaking.
  12. Remove from the oven and immediately top the cookies with 2 or 3 of the remaining caramel halves. Sprinkle with sea salt or other coarse salt. Let the cookies set up on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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