There’s nothing wrong with traditional gingerbread, but we’d venture to say that these caramel-stuffed gingerbread crinkle cookies are the best damn Christmas cookies we’ve ever tasted. Chewy, spicy cookies are filled with molten caramel…and the results are glorious.
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
24 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
Confectioners’ sugar, for finishing
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, sugar, brown sugar and molasses on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the egg and vanilla extract; mix until combined, about 1 minute.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; mix to combine. Scrape the side of the bowl well and make sure the dough is evenly mixed.
4. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Use your thumb to make a deep imprint in the center of a ball and place a caramel in it. Roll the dough into a ball again, coat in confectioners’ sugar and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough, spacing the balls about 1½ inches apart on the baking sheets.
7. Dust the cookies with another layer of confectioners’ sugar. Bake until the cookies are crackly on the surface and very lightly golden at the edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool completely. The cookies will keep for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.