In the center of these Chocolate Caramel Espresso Chews hides a delicious candy that just happens to be one of my favorites - Rolo's! You know, those small chocolate covered caramel bombs that one (meaning me) could endlessly unwrap and pop in my mouth if I didn't worry about having a sugar coma.
The dough for these two-bite cookies is devilishly dark, rick and laced with dissolved espresso powder, not only beefing up the chocolate-ness, but adding a very mild coffee zing. The recipe didn't state which cocoa powder to use - natural or Dutch-process, but we happen to enjoy the smoothness of the latter. That isn't to say that these wouldn't be just as good if you used a natural cocoa powder - use whichever you have in the pantry. When combined, the dough was soft and pliable, almost on the verge of being sticky, but I was still able to divvy it out and roll the dough into balls without it sticking to my hands. I did use a tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the dough, which ended up giving me just the right size pieces. If you find the dough to be a little sticky for you, keep your hands dusted with flour when rolling and that should help move the process along.
To contain the cookies and give them height to be able to stick the candy inside, the ping pong-sized rounds were plunked into a miniature muffin tin and sent off into the oven to bake. The key to these is to not over-bake - take the tray out when the cookies have puffed up and the tops are set, yet if a toothpick is placed into the center, it may come out cleanly. If the toothpick comes out with raw batter, give them another minute or so, but don't worry if there are a few sticky crumbs. As soon as they were ready, we then took the chocolate covered caramels and gently pushed one into the center of each cookie.
They are fairly delicate while warm, which means you'll want to leave them in the muffin tin for at least ten minutes before pulling them out. Once they had finished cooling, each cookie is topped off with a sweet, espresso-spiked drizzle made from confectioners' sugar, espresso powder and just enough hot water to thin. Thankfully, the full batch made a ton of cookies, because there was no way either of us was going to stop at just one!
Chocolate Caramel Espresso Chews