Our Caramel Turtle Cookie Recipe is a good way to use up leftover Halloween candy – sort of a Nightmare before Christmas cookie
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CREATING A RECIPE USING LEFTOVER CANDY
I created this Caramel Turtle Cookie recipe using my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Instead of chocolate chips, I chopped up some left over chocolate covered caramel turtles. Don’t ask how I happen to have left over caramel turtles. This cookie would also be a good recipe to use with some of the leftover Halloween candy.
METHOD FOR MAKING GREAT COOKIES
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THE SCIENCE BEHIND MAKING GREAT COOKIES EVERY TIME
To make great cookies, it is important to understand a little of the science of making them. They are small, so there is less room for error, which is why measuring accurately is so necessary. And they have very few ingredients, so each ingredient has a key roll, and using the best of each ingredient will make a big difference.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING GREAT COOKIES
USE THE BEST INGREDIENTS – The brands we have listed will let you make great cookies every time. They not only taste better but production of each is controlled so the product is consistent. The size of the sugar crystal, the amount of protein in the flour, the shape of the salt – all these things will affect the way the cookies bake. Cookies are so small that little differences in the ingredients can lead to a big difference in the cookies.
Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flourhas a lower protein amount than some all purpose flours – 10.5 percent protein. This is a good flour for baking cookies, since it makes them more tender. In addition, the company ensures that the protein content is carefully calibrated, so you get consistent results. Also, it is important to use the unbleached flour.
King Arthur Flour– King Arthur is an employee-owned company that responsibly sources the wheat for their flours, and it pays off in the taste and quality. They have a “never bleached” guarantee, which means their flours don’t have an off taste or unpredictable results that can be caused by bleaching. They also carefully calibrate the protein content, which means the flour gives you the same results, every time you bake. King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour– 11.7 percent protein – is good for baking cookies that are a little more hearty and need some substance, which the higher protein provides.
We useWholesome organic sugar, because it is produced from sugar cane fields that are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Burning sugar cane fields contributes to air pollution andclimate change, and is a major cause of the destruction of the rain forest. Buying sugar from fields that are green cut helps prevent this destruction. The sugar also has a better taste because of how it is produced, but mostly we use it because it is a sustainable choice. It is more expensive than buying the standard brands, but the difference is only a few cents per recipe, so it’s worth it. We also save money bybuying this in bulkdirect from the company andstoring it in jars in the pantry. Instead of buying brown sugar, we add some molasses or sorghum syrup to a recipe, since brown sugar is just sugar with molasses added. This saves money, since brown sugar is more expensive than white sugar, and it saves storage.
Heilala producesthebest tasting vanilla we have ever tried. Plus, it is ethically produced. We double the amount of vanilla usually called for to add extra flavor. Vanilla extract is usually half alcohol and half water, so the extra vanilla can add back some of the liquid that was removed when browning the butter.
Using a high quality chocolate makes a really big difference. We useValrhona chocolate, because of the quality and because it’s an ethical choice.
We like the quality ofDiamond Kosher saltand don’t want the iodine taste. The weight and structure of salt varies between brands so it is important to choose a salt and stick with it to be consistent.
Usingbrowned butter, or buerre noistte as it is known in France, adds a huge amount of flavor to baked goods. We useHorizon Organicbutter to make browned butter. We think Horizon products taste better than any other dairy products we have tried. This is probably because the products are organic and from family farming partners. Just as important, Horizon is acertified B corporationthat has committed to becomingcarbon positive across their entire supply chain by 2025.
METHOD FOR MAKING COOKIES
USE A SCALE AND MEASURE IN GRAMS – Use a scale to measure all the ingredients by weight. This is absolutely essential. The inaccuracies from using measuring cups can easily lead to failure when baking. Different brands of flour and sugar will be different when measured with measuring cups, and not all measuring cups are accurate either. But measuring by weight is the same every time. Measuring by weight is also much easier – just put the mixing bowl on the scale, zero the scale, add an ingredient, zero the scale again, add the next ingredient, and so on. Measuring in grams is more accurate because it is a smaller, more precise measurement than an ounce or pound. Also, grams are often easy numbers to remember, making it possible to make the cookies without looking at the written recipe and easy to compare recipes. Clean up is easier, since there will be fewer bowls and no measuring cups and to clean up. And cooking with children is easier because they quickly learn how to add ingredients until the scale reads the correct amount.
CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR FOR SEVERAL MINUTES – Cream the butter and sugar for several minutes to make sure they are light and fluffy, but not so long that the butter starts melting. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer. Do not let the mixture exceed 68 degrees F.
USE A SCALE AND A SCOOP TO MAKE DROP COOKIES – Use the scale to make sure the cookies are exactly the same size. Using a scoop makes forming the cookies fast and easy and will also help maintain the same shape.
REFRIGERATE THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT – This allows the flour to absorb the liquid in the dough and hardens up the butter, making the cookies bake better. You can refrigerate the dough in the bowl covered with plastic wrap, but it is easier to measure out the dough as cookies for drop cookies or form it into a flat square for rolled cookies, and wrap in plastic before refrigerating it.
VACUUM PACK AND FREEZE EXTRA DOUGH -After refrigerating the dough overnight, freeze extra cookie dough as cookies in a vacuum packed container. Portioning out the dough and then vacuum sealing them keeps them fresher and makes it easy to take out just a few for baking.
USE AN OVEN THERMOMETER – Use an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature before putting the cookies in. The temperature of ovens vary, and may not be the temperature on the dial.
ALLOW THE COOKIES TO COOL ON A RACK – Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the pan, then transfer them to a rack to keep them from getting too dark on the bottom. The cookies will become more crisp as they cool on the rack, though we realize allowing them to cool before eating them is almost impossible.
No Affiliates Statement
We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.
HOW THESE COOKIES FIT INTO OUR PLAN TO EAT BETTER:
While looking for the best ingredients, we discovered that many companies that care about quality also care about sustainability. This made a huge dent in our carbon footprint. We have listed the brands for some of the ingredients because ingredients are everything. These brands give superior results. And by using brands like Horizon butter and Wholesome sugar we cut our carbon footprint (see:we cut our carbon footprint in half) and are helping to control climate change.
Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography