Sunday, May 20, 2007

Shortbread Caramel Kiss Cookies

We are going to our hometown in Connecticut later this week, so I wanted to come bearing baked goods. My family and I have long been fans of Peanut Blossoms (the little peanut butter cookies with a Hershey's kiss in the middle - dubbed "Chocolate Nipple Cookies"), so I was intrigued by this new variation. It comes to us from the March/April 2006 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen.

I made two changes: First, I couldn't find the kisses with caramel in them, so I used some peanut-butter filled ones that I had on hand. Then, to balance that change, I omitted the pecans. Other than that, I followed the instructions as written. We LOVE these cookies!! The only complaint is that the kisses melted very, very quickly, which doesn't usually happen when we make the traditional recipe. I suspect the peanut butter filling made them less durable. Regardless, several cookies now look like chocolate thumbprint cookies - which isn't a bad thing, but they're not as nipply as they should be. Anyway. I would definitely make these again. And I hope my family and friends enjoy them!

Shortbread Caramel Kiss Cookies
A wonderful adaptation of chocolate kiss cookies, this cookie has one delicious difference from the original: creamy caramel hidden inside the chocolate kiss.

1 cup (2 Sticks ) butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
36 caramel filled milk chocolate kisses unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add vanilla, beating well. In separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in nuts.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on lightly prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press chocolate kiss in center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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