Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookie Cups
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can substitute another stick of butter)
3/8 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped almonds, if desired
Salted Caramel Sauce/Filling:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cubed (if you’re using unsalted butter, add about 1/8 teaspoon salt)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
Melted dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
Chopped almonds (about 1/4 cup, chopped)
To prepare “cookie cup” batter: in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, coconut oil, salt, and both sugars together for about 1 minute on high speed, or until the color has lightened and the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla; mix again for about 30 seconds. Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and baking soda to a separate mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. If little balls of cocoa powder remain, sift the mixture into the egg/sugar/butter mixture. Combine the flour and egg/butter mixture JUST UNTIL they are fully mixed (10 seconds or so). Don’t mix it too much, or the dough will be tough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini-muffin tin. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean. (Do NOT overbake.) Immediately press a well into the center of each mini-muffin using a small spoon or your thumb. Refrigerate the tin for about 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the perimeter of each mini-muffin and gently encourage them out of the pan. (Be careful…they will be crumbly.)
While the muffins are chilling, make the salted caramel sauce: Have the caramel sauce ingredients set out and ready to use. Place the sugar in a saucepan set over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk it–break up any sugar lumps–soon the sugar will begin to melt and liquify. When it turns a dark amber color add the butter and keep whisking. Once the butter is melted, add the heavy cream. Keep whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding to cookie cups.
Line a baking sheet or other flat work surface with parchment or waxed paper (this makes clean-up much simpler). Lay the cookie cups out on the surface. Use a teaspoon to generously fill each cookie cup with the caramel sauce (there will be some sauce left over…it’s great on ice cream or in your coffee!). Sprinkle chopped almonds over the caramel sauce. Then, melt the chocolate, place it in a Zip-lock baggie with a tiny part of a corner snipped off, and zig-zag the chocolate over cookie cups.