Scotch seems to have occupied this holy space within the pantheon of dark alcohols (and no, by ‘dark’ I don’t mean the kind of alcohol you have to summon by putting a picture of Keith Richards in the middle of a pentagram surrounded by candles. That alcohol is called Aristocrat).
When I talk about making bourbon bread pudding, or grabbing some rum off the shelf to go in a bananas foster, no one blinks an eye. But it’s unheard of to have scotch in anything but a 4000-sided crystal decanter, being sensually poured by an aging yet spry butler named “Cheeves” with a heart of gold or some such bullshit. Putting it in a dessert? Treating it like just another ingredient?
Suddenly it’s offensive to have scotch in any way that isn’t neat in a glass with the weight of a goddamned sack of billiard balls.
Well it turns out the good flavors (and believe me, there are many more than just ‘smoky’ and ‘bog-like’) in scotch don’t magically evaporate when you use it in a recipe. Further, it turns out that putting it in caramel just makes the goddamned caramel smoky and bog-like and everything else delicious as well. And then putting that in a cookie just makes anything better, so that’s an obvious one.
Just don’t pour the caramel into a crystal glass. That’s a bitch to clean up.
First you have to make the caramel; that way it’ll have time to go from molten-hot death liquid to a pleasing chewy square.
Put the corn syrup, heavy cream, and sugar in a medium saucepan at medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar’s dissolved.
Keep stirring occasionally and brushing the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush until the temperature reaches 245 and it looks…well, caramel-colored. That’s how caramel works. If it’s not that color, keep cooking until it is. If it starts to feel grainy, add more heavy cream a tablespoon at a time.
Take the caramel off heat, stir in the scotch and vanilla, and pour it into a baking dish/Tupperware thingy lined with wax paper and sprayed with non-stick. Let it get to room temperature, then stick it in the fridge while you make the cookies.
To make the cookies, whisk all the dry stuff (flour, cocoa, salt, espresso powder, and baking powder) in a large bowl.
Throw the vegetable oil and sugar in your stand mixer and mix for a couple minutes on low.
Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix those in too.
Mix in the dry stuff, wrap the dough up in some plastic wrap, and let those flavors get friendly with each other by refrigerating the dough overnight.
Once the dough’s been chilled, take it out of the fridge and put the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Preheat your oven to 350, too.
Now’s the time to take the caramel out of the fridge.
Sprinkle some of the fleur de sel on top of the caramel, which will transform the caramel from boring candy to something you can post on pinterest and get likes from a soccer mom from Ohiowa.
Let it warm up a little bit so you don’t need an ice-pick to get through it, then cut the caramel into ½ in squares.
Roll the dough into golf ball-sized balls after placing a caramel square in the middle of each one, and roll the whole thing in powdered sugar. This is where you get the nice crackling effect from, so make sure you cover the shit out of those balls with the powdered sugar. Also make sure you never say that last sentence out loud.
Put the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then stick them in the oven for 10 minutes.
Take the cookies out, let them cool for 5 minutes, and let them cool on a cooling rack until your love for general fatassery and cookies outweighs the pain you’ll inevitably experience from eating a hot caramel-filled baked good too quickly.