Christmas is always better with cookies. Cookie exchanges, cookie’s for Santa, and cookies for all the homey feelings and smells. And these salted caramel oatmeal cookies are my cookie of choice this holiday season.
Let me tell you how these cookies came to be: A few months ago I went with my husband to a job interview. It was just a few hours away, but the drive ended up taking forever because half way through the drive my husband realized that he left his suit by the door at home. All he had in the car were some t-shirts and jeans. It was late at night and the interview was the next morning, so we didn’t have time to buy a new outfit and interviewing in a graphic T was not an option. We had to turn around and drive back home to get his dress clothes and start the journey over.
By the time we got to the hotel, we were exhausted and frustrated, but it all melted away when we walked in the hotel room and saw a massive basket full of Great Harvest Bread Company swag that was left for us by the company we were interviewing with, including huge salted caramel oatmeal cookies. Its amazing what a stack of massive salted caramel oatmeal cookies that are as big as my toddler’s head will do for a weary traveler.
Through the rest of our journey, I couldn’t stop eating these cookies. They were huge and I just kept breaking off pieces as I fell deeper and deeper in love. I needed these salted caramel oatmeal cookies in my life. Of course, my brain started piecing together potential recipes so I could make my own at home.
Over the last few months, I have been making these cookies over and over, tweaking them a little each time and I think I hit the jack pot. I tried different types of cookie bases, different amounts of oatmeal and caramel, with caramel extract and without, different sizes, and different kinds of salt.
In the end, I decided my favorite cookie base is one with melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar, an extra egg yolk, and a scoop of corn starch for soft chewiness. I liked them better without caramel extract so the caramel chunks inside sing out and my favorite salt option is Maldon’s Sea Salt Flakes. Although the Great Harvest cookies are huge and on the slightly crispy side, I decided to go for a normal sized cookie and keep them soft and chewy. If you like them with more of a crisp, just bake them a few minutes longer, but all my instructions will be for a soft and chewy cookie.
I use Kraft Caramel Bits in these cookies because they are the perfect size and so easy to deal with. I can’t find them at a lot of grocery stores, but I can always find them at Walmart by the chocolate chips, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find for most people.
You can adjust the amount of salt on top to your liking. I don’t like a lot of salted caramel foods because they are too salty, but I find the sprinkle of salt on these cookies addicting. It brings out the caramel flavor and balances the sweetness. If you can’t find Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, you could alternatively use kosher salt. If you like a more oaty oatmeal cookie, you can add between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of oats more than listed in the recipe. I have tried them both ways and can’t decide which one I like more. They are both great, but I get a better shape with the less oats.
Merry Christmas and thanks to all my friends and family for eating my many batches of experimental cookies until I found the perfect combo.