We’d never been happier than when we learned earlier this year that one of our favorite seasonal snacks would become a permanent menu fixture at EPCOT’s Karamel-Küche in the Germany Pavilion. And what’s better than being able to get one of our favorite treats year-round? Well, being able to have it without a park ticket, plane ticket, or park pass reservation! We took to our test kitchen to break down this recipe for you!
For those of you wringing your hands and stressing about your baking prowess, take a deep breath and relax. You don’t have to have the skills or culinary background of Mary Berry or Martha Stewart to pull off these delicious morsels that could earn you a handshake from Paul Hollywood. (Am I the only Great British Bake Off fan? It’s ok folks, take a second to Google Paul Hollywood…I’ll wait, and you’ll thank me, later!).
We are breaking down the Karamell-Küche Gingerbread Salted Caramel Buttercream Cookie Sandwich! Could you bake these from scratch? Could you gather hundreds of baking supplies and spices, and spend hours baking these spiced nuggets of bliss? Sure, but we’ve done the science for you! And luckily, they’re MUCH easier than you think! You might only need to buy three ingredients from your local grocery store (which is much cheaper than a plane ticket, park ticket, and hotel reservation).
So, what are you looking for? For this recipe, Betty Crocker did most of our heavy lifting. Dash to your favorite market and grab:
-Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix
-Betty Crocker Whipped Butter Cream Frosting
–Werther’s Original Soft Caramels
Once you’re home, you’ll need to gather your additional supplies. To complete the whole recipe, you’ll also need some water, butter, and a couple splashes of milk. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you when you need them. You’ll also need a mixer, mixing bowl, baking sheets, measuring cup, and tablespoon.
Now, let’s get baking!
On the back of the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix, you’ll find instructions for making a gingerbread cake and instructions for making gingerbread cookies. We’re going to work off of the bottom recipe for making gingerbread cookies.
So grab that measuring cup you have handy and fill it with a quarter cup of water and cut up three tablespoons of butter. The box calls for the butter to be melted, but for a denser dough texture, just use softened butter that’s room temperature.
Open the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix and dump it into your mixing bowl. You may find some clumps in your mixture, so use a whisk to break up the mix so it’s light with few clumps.
Now, add in your butter and water.
Use your electric mixer to blend the dough together until smooth. If you have a fancy standing mixer, you can definitely use that, but this dough is very light and not super complicated so you can easily get everything well incorporated with a simple eclectic mixture. (Plus, who passes up an opportunity to lick the beaters?)
Now, this dough is really soft. You’ll need to refrigerate it for a few hours to bring it to the right consistency to handle. So, put some plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes). To get our exact timing, put on the new Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers movie on Disney+ and once you’ve laughed your way through the credits, your dough should be just right. Preheat your oven to 375°.
Time to start molding your cookies! Grab your tablespoon set aside earlier and scoop out a level portion of dough. Roll the dough between the palms of your hands to create small balls. The dough will still be soft and somewhat sticky, so work fast or re-refrigerate as needed.
Make sure your cookie dough balls are well distanced as they spread while they bake. Our batch made 16 evenly portioned cookies placed out on two cooking sheets.
Once the oven is preheated, bake, one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. Your bake time may vary based on your oven efficiency. We recommend starting out at 9 minutes and then checking and cooking longer if needed. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet after removing them from the oven before moving them to a cooling rack. We also recommend placing wax paper or paper towels under the cooling rack to catch crumbs or later, drizzled caramel drops, for easier cleanup!
After cookies have cooled for at least twenty minutes and are cool to the touch, time to start icing! Of course, you can get fancy and make your own buttercream frosting (milk, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla), but Betty Crocker’s method is so easy — just open and spread!
Most of your cookies should be similar in size and shape, but quickly match them up so you have the same size “top” and “bottom” cookie (they are gonna be sandwiches, after all). And you only have to frost half of them. Since they are going to be sandwiches, frost the bottom, flat side of the cookie. You can be as generous as you like with the buttercream, but try not to go too overboard, our ambitious frosting attempts in the past led to frosting-sandwich-blowouts and a sweet but regrettable mess.
Now to make the caramel! The Werther’s bag gives instructions for heating melty caramel for the purpose of caramel apples — but we’re not coating whole apples, we just need enough to drizzle inside our cookie sandwiches.
We used about 15 caramels, unwrapped them, and placed them in a microwavable bowl. Then added a splash of milk (around one and a half teaspoons) and microwaved for 30 seconds. Using a spoon, we mixed the melted caramel and milk together until smooth. Please be cautious during this part as warm caramel can be messy and burn, so keep an eye on little ones, or accident-prone adults.
Once you mixed your warm caramel until it’s smooth, use a spoon to drizzle over the frosted half of your cookie sandwiches. This part will be messy, but fun! And since the top of the cookie sandwich will cover everything going on inside, no need for perfection! Again, you can use as much or little caramel as you like, but resist the urge to go overboard and end up with caramel soup croutons (not a bad thing — but not what we’re going for here).
Once all of your cookies have been properly bedazzled by caramel, apply the cookie tops and let rest on the cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
After the caramel has firmed up slightly, they can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for future sweet tooth cravings. We advise refrigerating them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Or eating immediately (because that’s why you made them)!
And there you have it, a favorite EPCOT snack without having to leave your own home! And let’s be real, this recipe is so simple, you could make them anytime and they’re so delicious you might just be thinking about trying out for The Great British Bake Off, yourself (or at least wowing your pals at the next potluck gathering). Give it a try and let us know how you do!!
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