Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1¾ cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup natural unsweetened
cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
2 dozen caramels in milk chocolate, such as Rolos
 
1. In a medium bowl, beat shortening and 1½ cups sugar at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beating to combine.

2. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. With mixer on lowest speed, add flour mixture to shortening mixture in 3 batches, beating well after each addition. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Combine walnuts and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Using a 1½-inch spring-loaded ice-cream scoop, scoop dough into mounds. Press each mound around a caramel, rolling back and forth in hands until a smooth ball forms. Roll balls in walnut mixture. Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.