Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Cookies

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These cookies were sent to three lucky bloggers as a part of the 3rd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I had this idea written in my handy-dandy notebook for awhile and when the I read in the rules that it had to be a recipe that I had not blogged yet I knew this was the one!
The kids loved these cookies, as did I. They're the favorite in this house!

**Couple-a Cookie Tips**
-Whip your butter and sugar. The recipe says to whip it about four minutes.... do it. Don't skip this part. The sugar tears little holes in the butter which will give you an airy dough, which translates into that nice crunch of a good cookie. Whip it. Whip it real good.

-Use softened butter. It will whip into that sugar so nice and creamy. Yumm

- Chill. Once the dough is all nice and combined, stick it in the fridge for at least 20minutes. Clean while you chill. Chilling drop-cookie dough allows a few things to happen.
1) the flour gets a chance to absorb more moisture from the dough and your cookies won't spread so much when baking.
2) the longer you chill it, the richer the batter gets. You'll get a tanner, more caramel-y flavor which just equals deliciousness.

-If you make a dozen cookies, try not to eat 8 of them yourself.... trust me, your family won't be pleased.

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Cookies
yield 24 cookies

1 stick + 2tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (use coffee extract to make mocha cookies)
1 egg
2 pkgs Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa mix
1 & 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt + more for the top
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cups Kraft Caramel bits
1/2 cup Kraft Mallow Bits

Preheat oven to 350*
Grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.

In your standmixer or large bowl, beat butter and sugar until it increases in volume and becomes a creamy color- about 4 minutes.
Add vanilla and egg to butter/sugar mixture and combine.
In a separate bowl, combine cocoa mix, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture 1/4 cup at a time, mixing completely, scraping the bottom of the bowl as you go.
Fold in the caramel bits and mallow bits. Your dough may be a bit thick at this point, that's GOOD!
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Drop teaspoons of cookie dough on to greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-11minutes.
Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack. 
Be very, very careful because the caramel may be a bit sticky on the bottom!