Chocolate Caramel Treasures
1 stick, unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
For caramel filling:
10 plain caramels, unwrapped
2 tbsp. heavy cream
For chocolate drizzle:
3 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Beat together butter, sugar, yolk, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. Sift in flour, cocoa, and salt and beat on low speed until mixture forms a dough. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll scant tbsp. of dough into balls, then coat with egg white, letting excess drip off, and roll in nuts to coat. Arrange balls, as coated, 1 1/2" apart on greased baking sheets and press your thumb into center of balls to flatten, leaving a depression. Bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed slightly but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press centers of cookies again ( we used handle end of a wooden spoon). Transfer to racks to cool.
Make filling while cookies are cooling:
Heat caramels and cream in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and mixture is smooth. Spoon into centers of cookies and cool completely.
Make chocolate drizzle:
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Cool to warm and pour into a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and snip 1 corner to forma small hole. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Store in a sealed container in a cold place, they may be frozen.