From: Chef Angie Lee, Ali's Bar at Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA. This recipe was a winner in the 2011 Southern Peanut Growers Chefs' Recipe Contest. Yield: 4-5 dozen cookies.
2 cups sugar, granulated
12 oz. peanuts, dry roasted, salted
1 cup shortening
½ cup butter, salted, softened
¾ cup sugar, granulated
1½ cup sugar, light brown, lightly packed
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, whole
3¾ cups flour, unbleached all-purpose
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Add approximately ¼ cup of the first 2 cups of sugar over the bottom of a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Stir until melted, then stir in a few Tbsp. of sugar at a time until the sugar is incorporated and the syrup is a dark golden brown.
Remove from heat and stir peanuts into the caramel using a silicon spatula until peanuts are completely coated. Pour mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Allow to cool completely. Chop the caramel peanuts into small chunks.
Cream the shortening, butter and sugars in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add vanilla and eggs. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, about ½ cup at a time, until just incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the caramel peanuts and chopped chocolate.
Portion 24 #30 scoops of dough onto prepared full sheet pan. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove with a spatula to wire racks to cool complete. Place Caramel Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies in an airtight container. Shelf life: 1 week.