Two things are certain of Christmas in my house- we’re having Egg’s Benny for brunch, and fueling ourselves with cookies the rest of the day, until the big feast, then more cookies after for dessert. I simply LOVE cookies, they’re bite-sized and easy to serve, non-committal little flavour bombs. They whip up pretty quickly and can be made in advance. They’re great gifts too, when in doubt, cookies!

But these aren’t just your above-average chocolate chip cookies. They require a few steps but are fun to make and do possess a certain wow-factor. Substitutions are part of the fun- keep the base recipe standard and elevate and customize with personalized flourishes. Always finish with the highest quality ingredients, stale nuts or subpar chocolate isn’t a good look. Lindt melts perfectly and has so many variations to really play with the recipe.

A few of our fave subsitutions:

Macadamia Nuts ● White Chocolate ● Crushed Sea Salt

Walnut ● Dark Chocolate ● Maple Syrup Caramel

Pistachios ● White Chocolate ● Cinnamon Caramel Sauce

Hazelnuts Dark Chocolate ● Crushed Sea Salt

Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups of white sugar

2 egg yolks

4 tbsp milk

2 cups of flour

2/3 cup of cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Nuts ● Chocolate ● Garnish

Caramel Sauce: 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of whipping cream, 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Cream together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and egg yolks. Sift flour, cocoa and salt. Add sifted ingredients with butter mixture until well-blended. Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest the dough for at least one hour in the fridge before using. Once the dough is rested, remove from fridge and roll into small 1 inch balls. Roll dough balls in nuts and then assemble on cookie sheet, pressing your thumb in each centre to create a pocket for caramel sauce. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F for 6-8 mins or until slightly puffy. Once they are out of the oven, leave them to rest for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before using a spoon (or melon baller) to reinforce the centre. Wait another 2 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet and cooling on parchment paper directly on your countertop. While they’re cooling, make the caramel sauce. Pour sugar into heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. With a wooden spoon, stir until melted and turning brown. Break up any clumps with your spoon and stir carefully and consistently- don’t turn your back on your sauce! Slowly pour in whipping cream and butter, use caution as it will boil immediately. Stir until incorporated and thickened, turn the heat down to low. Remove from heat and pour into a mesh strainer over a bowl to remove the remaining clumps. The sauce will be very hot, so use caution to carefully fill each cookie with the sauce. Set your sticky caramel pot (this helps to clean it) to the side and fill a quarter of the pot with water to create a double-boiler for the chocolate drizzle. Add 3oz of desired chopped chocolate to top of double-boiler (or stainless steel bowl). Simmer water and carefully melt chocolate over low heat. Remove, and pour into a Ziploc bag to create a piping bag. Snip off a corner and drizzle over cookies.

All photos by Libby Roach.