I did a bit of Christmas baking this year for the very first time. I made whipped shortbread, butter tarts, marshmellow peanut butter squares and caramel filled chocolate cookies. The first three things I listed were some of my childhood favorites around Christmas time. The last, a new recipe that my great aunt made for us when we went to Calgary for grandma's funeral. They were a little bit labour intensive to make, but I wanted to post the recipe. They kind of taste like those two bite brownies that you buy in the store, except they are cookies, have walnuts in them and have creamy caramel in the middle.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon white sugar
48 chocolate-covered caramel candies (pieces of Caramilk chocolate bar)
Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup nuts with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed (this is very important as the dough gets very sticky as it warms up). Divide each part into 12 pieces. Quickly press each piece of dough around a chocolate covered caramel (we found it easier to handle the dough with wet fingers). Roll into a ball. Dip the tops into the sugar/nut mixture. Place sugar side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!