>Sometimes I get an idea in my head about something I want to do, or try to do, and I just can’t get it out of my head. I guess you could say I have obsessive tendencies. That’s what these cookies are kind of about. I have had an idea for probably 2 years about making a vanilla caramel cookie with a subtle coffee hint, kind of like a caramel macchiato from Starbucks. I actually tried a few years ago to create the cookie in my head but they didn’t work out the way I had planned. The idea was pushed to the back of my head in the moving craziness of the last year but it was still there.
About 2 weeks ago I was shopping in Target and I was just browsing their baking aisle, I didn’t really need anything I was just looking around. As I was looking at the variety of chocolate chips I saw a bag that instantly brought my mind back to the “caramel machiatto” cookie I have imagined. It was a bag of caramel bits, intended for easier melting and eliminating the hassle of unwrapping a million caramels. So I bought the bag and started brainstorming.
I wanted to use a vanilla pudding packet in the cookie to up the creamy vanilla flavor I was looking for. I did an online search for sugar cookies with vanilla pudding and I found this recipe. I was intrigued because it calls for vegetable oil, which I have never used in a cookie before. I was a bit skeptical but the raving reviews convinced me to try it. In the end they were good, but a bit crunchier than I had imagined (thought still somehow a little chewy, which was good). After 15 seconds in the microwave they were perfect, but just straight out of the storage container the next day they were too crunchy for me.
Because they were good after warming them up, and because some people really like crunchy sugar cookies and these were strangely crunchy and chewy, I am going to share the recipe now. But I am still going to work towards getting this cookie exactly as I have been imaging it so don’t be surprised if you see similar cookies again soon. And a little warning, I had a LOT of fun taking pictures of these, so there are a couple photos 🙂
Sugar Cookies with a Caramel Macchiato Kick
(Cookie adapted from Cookie Madness; Caramel Topping my own recipe)
2 sticks (8 oz) salted butter, softened**
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix — lemon works too
4 cups all-purpose flour (18 oz)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
*I added 1/2 cup of the caramel baking bits to the dough but they were a little sticky in the cookie so next time I am going to do more of a thumbprint wit the caramel topping instead of the caramel bits directly in the cookie
~3/4 cup caramel topping, recipe below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, or a large bowl, cream the butter, oil and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and dry pudding mix.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and with the mixer on slow-medium speed, mix well.
Using a medium scoop, or by heaping tablespoon, drop the cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet (ungreased). With a flat bottom glass, press down the top of each cookie.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Set the wire rack over top of parchment paper or aluminum foil and drizzle the caramel topping over the cookies.
Caramel Topping Recipe (I had a good amount of this caramel mixture left after drizzling, but it would make an excellent topping for ice cream!)
1/2 cup caramel bits
1/4 cup half and half, room temperature
1 packet Starbucks VIA coffee (for less potent coffee flavor use half a packet)
In a microwave safe bowl melt the caramel, starting with 30 seconds and continuing in 15 second intervals until melted.
In a small measuring cup add the VIA to the half and half and stir to dissolve.
Using a silicone spatula, pour the half and half mixture into the melted caramel and stir until smooth and completely combined. It may need another 15 seconds in the microwave.
For ease of decorating you can transfer the caramel to a decorating bottle, but you can also just use a spoon to drizzle on top of the cookies.