Even though they’re paleo cookies made with almond butter, they taste very similar to traditional peanut butter cookies, and the crumbly, buttery cookie and creamy salted caramel are an unbeatable team.
I was assigned Karen’s blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. Every month the club gives members a chance to explore and cook or bake from someone else’s blog, and the best part is that finding out who had your blog is a big surprise on reveal day. It’s kind of like Secret Santa for food bloggers, all year long.
Perusing the recipes on Karen’s site was so much fun, and I had a hard time deciding what to make. I was tempted by some of her main dishes, like Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs and Chorizo, Kale, and Chicken Stuffed Poblanos, which I bookmarked for later. However, anyone who visits Karen’s blog will be able to tell that her real passion is baking, so I decided to go with a baked dessert. (If you’re not gluten-free, you should check out all the gorgeous breads she has made–visit her recipe index and scroll down to see the bread section. They all look so beautiful!)
I was extremely happy with my final choice. I adapted Karen’s recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies with Salted Peanut Caramel to make it gluten-free and grain-free, and used almond butter instead of peanut to make paleo-friendly cookies. I was thinking about putting cashews into the salted peanut caramel, but decided the cookies has enough nutty ingredients and that I would let the salt take center stage in the caramel.
The cookies were easy and fun to make, and so was the caramel–but nothing was as much fun as eating the cookies. They were delicious the day I made them, even better the next day, and gone the day after that. I cannot wait to make them again!
Almond Butter Thumbprints with Salted Caramel
Yield: About 22 cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup creamy unsweetened almond butter
1 1/2 cups almond flour, lightly packed
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the salted caramel (adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories):
1 cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
1 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Sea salt, for topping (I used Himalayan pink salt)
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond butter.
Whisk together the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat just until combined.
Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough, form them into balls, and place them about 11/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the top of each cookie. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 17 minutes, until set and golden brown around the edges. Use a teaspoon to reinforce the indentation in the cookies while they’re still hot. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the pan, then use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
To make the caramel, heat the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until hot. Set aside. Bring the sugar, water, honey, and sea salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture is smooth, raise the heat to high and stop stirring. Let the caramel cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the color darkens significantly and the fragrance changes from honey sweet to nutty caramel. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the cream and vanilla (the caramel will bubble vigorously).*
Let the caramel cool until warm, but no longer hot, and then spoon about a teaspoon into the center of each cooled cookie. Sprinkle sea salt to taste on top of the caramel center of each cookie. Let cool completely and enjoy!
*Note: If, after stirring in the cream, you discover that what you have is not really caramel, but instead a soupy, milky mixture with a light beige color, don’t despair! I’ve made the mistake of adding the cream to caramel too early, and it’s fixable. Just turn the heat back up to high and let it bubble away, tilting and swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture takes on the color and aroma of true caramel. Once it does, remove it from the heat immediately and stir until it stops bubbling to avoid getting burned bits on the bottom.
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