A colleague of mine decided to switch teams and when his last day on the desk next to mine came up, it seemed only logical to bake some cookies to mark the occasion. I again opted for a recipe from my trusted Les cookies de Laura Todd book. It’s a great book: the basic recipe is always the same, so once you get the hang of it, you can add whatever you want! For now, I’m sticking to the recipes suggested in the book, but I’ll try my luck at new combinations soon, I have plenty of ideas already! But first, back to this recipe. I used Carambar in it, which are French very hard caramel sticks. If you can’t find those, any tough tooth sticking caramel will do!
Preheat the oven to 140 C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Cut 150 g caramels (I used regular Carambar, the recipe recommends using the Cub’s, which are caramels coated in chocolate) in small pieces (about 3 to 5 mm large). Mix 250 g softened butter (you can use margarine as well) with 350 g soft brown sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 1 egg and beat well until incorporated. In two batches, add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well), a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well) and a pinch of salt and mix well. You can add the chopped caramel at this point by hand (as the dough is quite hard) as I did, or you can first put batches of dough on your baking sheet, and push 3 to 4 caramel pieces in each as the recipe suggests.
Roll small balls with your hands, place them on the baking sheet (space them apart as they will spread) and push 3 to 4 pieces of caramel in each if you haven’t added the caramel to your dough already. Make sure the caramel is tucked away and not visible on the surface. Put in the oven for 15-20 min. Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The caramel will melt in the oven and get bubbly, but once cooled it will be rock solid again, so you may want to serve the cookies with a good dentist recommendation as well! Enjoy while listening to Caramel by Soulwax, a beautiful Belgian song, allowing you to really savour the cookies.