No stand-mixer? No problem! Listen as Sam Seneviratne bakes through Dorie Greenspan's Caramel Crunch Chunk cookies completely by hand, no mixer needed. And because of a genius trick, these cookies are perfect for everything from a late-night-snack to a bountiful care package for a friend.
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Kristen Miglore (voiceover): Hey, it's Kristen. Over the next few weeks, I'll be handing over the show to some special guest hosts while I go on a short sabbatical. I'll be back very soon, but in the meantime, I'm going to step back and let some of our favorite people from the Food52 family share with you some of their favorite genius recipes. This week, cookbook author, food stylist, and the host of Food52's Cook and a Half video series Samantha Seneviratne walks us through making a favorite Dorie Greenspan recipe for Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies. I hope you love it.
Samantha Seneviratne: Hi, I'm Samantha Seneviratne. Today. I'm guest hosting this week's episode of Genius Recipes while Kristen is on sabbatical. And I'm going to show you how to make great Greenspan's Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies, tough to say, but delicious to eat. And they're baked in a very special way and I can't wait to show you.
So the first thing we're gonna do is cream our butter and sugar. Dorie says to do this with a mixer, but I'm going to just do it by hand because we're not trying to beat air into the cookies. We are just trying to make the mixture creamy. So we have two sticks of butter and some granulated sugar. This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan, who I think probably needs no introduction. She is one of my favorite bakers on the planet. And of course, I would choose something from one of her books. She also has a bunch of excellent videos on Food52, if you want to check those out for more Dorie content. I'm also going to put half a teaspoon of sea salt in here. Mix that in. These don't have any eggs in them, even easier to mix. They kind of come out like a shortbread cookie. Sort of chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside with a very special way to bake them that makes the outside sort of caramelize and get even more delicious. There's no caramel in the cookies. It's just the effect of caramelizing the edges that makes them so good. So that looks good. Now I'm adding confectioner's sugar, which is a little different than your classic chocolate chip cookie. Again, this is going to work towards a sort of shortbread-y texture. That's so nice.
I'm going to put in a teaspoon of vanilla. Love anything I can do by hand, as opposed to having to drag out my mixer. So I have both sugar, salt, and butter together, and I'm going to dump in my flour. These cookies are great too because after you form them into logs and you can freeze them. So you can make them well in advance. And if you're like me, you can just slice off a few and bake them just for yourself late at night when your children are asleep. That's what I do. I always tell Ari the kitchen is closed after dinner, but then as soon as I put them to bed, I go get ice cream or something. So it's a big lie. So Dorie even says in her recipe, not to overmix this dough, she said it can be a little bit clumpy. So that's why I think doing it by hand is actually totally fine.
It's good. No lumps. And then I'm going to put in my chopped chocolate. This is milk chocolate. She says you can use dark or milk, but I’m using milk today. And chopped walnuts, coarsely chopped walnuts. And that is it. Now I wouldn't throw in other mix-ins. Usually, I say throw in whatever you want, but not to this one. I think the balance of chocolate, nut, and dough is actually perfect. So don't add anything else.
I cleaned up my workstation a little bit because I need some room. We're going to make some logs. We need a little piece of plastic divider dough in half. We're just doing that because it's easier to work with dough and it's a little bit smaller. So I'm trying to form this into about a two-inch diameter by about six inches long. So, what I'm going to do is just sort of like get everything together first, and then we'll worry about the shape. But the way that we bake it is so smart, it's so genius, that you actually don't have to worry about it being so perfectly round. They're going to end up being perfectly round in the end. I love that. It makes them all uniform, which is actually great for gifting. Because when you think about it, if all your cookies are exactly the same size, you can pack them up so neatly. You can freeze them really neatly. I like when all the things are the same size.
So now I have kind of a wonky log here, but at least it's all together and I'm just going to roll it up and get it to the length they want it like so. The dough needs to chill for at least an hour so that you can see. It's amazing to me. Dorie has written a million cookbooks and somehow she keeps coming up with ideas. I aspire to be like her. So these guys need to go into the refrigerator for at least two hours so that they are sliceable. You could also just throw these in the freezer for another day.
Kristen (voiceover): Hey, it's Kristen. More to come after a short break.
Samantha: I finally get to tell you exactly what makes this recipe. So genius! Dorie bakes these cookies in a muffin tin, which I love because when the sides of the cookies bake in the muffin tin, the butter and the sugar caramelize and make the edges toasty and wonderful. It's very special and it's very smart. The other thing is that they all perfectly round and exactly the same size, which is very satisfying without very much effort at all. So it's truly genius. The first thing we have to do is butter a muffin tin. And she says, you can use baking spray. She says you can use oil spray if you have it. But the thing is, if you use butter, you get all that butter flavor, you get even more caramelization. So I highly suggest you use butter,
These brushes tend to lose bristles really easily. So just give a once over to your muffin tins, and you don't get any of those bristles in your cookies. And even if you have a non-stick pan, I have a non-stick muffin tin at home, which I love. Even if you use a non-stick pan, be sure to butter it because it's just about that flavor. You want more of that caramelly deliciousness. That's ready. So we'll work with one log at a time and we're cutting them into half-inch slices. I think the job is usually easier with a serrated knife. Because you can kind of get through those walnuts and chocolate a little bit easier but use whatever you have. So here's my log. I'm going to just divide it first because I'm going for 12 pieces. So we'll do four and then each one into three. The other fun thing about this is if they happen to crack, you just push them back together and put them in. No one will ever know. It's the most forgiving cookie recipe.
They look so unique and they really don't take that much effort. I love recipes like that. So here are my little cookie rounds. Put one in every little muffin tin. Cute, easy, and fun. What more could you ask? Okay, this will go into a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. You'll know they're done when the tops look dry and the edges are nice, golden brown and caramelized. So check these out. They are out of the muffin tins and cooled completely. You want to take them out of the muffin tins when they're just a little bit warm. Look at this. Look at the bottom of these cookies. Deep golden brown, nice caramel-y flavor. You can also see the top has just, you can tell it's going to be a good texture. It's going to be tender, chocolatey and basically perfect.
Kristen (voiceover): Thanks for listening, and thanks so much to our guest host Samantha Seneviratne for baking through Dorie Greenspan recipe for Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies. This episode was put together by Amy Schuster, Emily Hanhan, and Harry Saltzman with editing by Crutch Phrase Studios. Do you have a favorite genius? I would love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tag me at @miglorious on Instagram. And if you like The Genius Recipe Tapes and the Food52 podcast network, the very best thing that you can do to support us is to give us a five-star rating or review, or just send this episode to a friend, talk to you soon.