Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies
Yesterday I had a sudden urge to bake something new. Something I had never made before, but using ingredients that I already had at home in a new way. I had this caramel sitting in the fridge. It was a first round trial for my Homemade Easy Caramel Sauce recipe. It came out less like a sauce and more like a thick sticky caramel that holds its shape. I knew that it was not a failure recipe, it was just not at the time what I was looking for since I wanted something more like a sauce. I kept it in the fridge and was trying to find a good way to use it. I still have many more ideas on ways to use it including homemade “twix” bars, but yesterday I decided to just wing it and try it in a cookie. I’m not typically a fan of overly sweet things, I have a hard time eating more than a couple bites of anything that only has a sweet flavor. I need a little bit more variety of flavor. In this cookie, the bitterness in the dark chocolate and the sprinkle of sea salt really compliment the sweetness of the cookie and caramel.
I used The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER as a base recipe for these cookies. I used less chocolate chips since the goal of this cookie was not to overwhelm with chocolate. Since I was only using one of my baking sheets, I needed to make 2 separate batches of cookies. This worked out to my advantage since the first round came out different than what I was expecting, so I adjusted in my second batch. In the end, even though it’s pretty much the exact same recipe I came out with 2 completely different looking cookies! I will share how I came to both versions here though. It will be up to you which way you want to make them. Ironically the one that looks messier is less messy to store and eat, and the one that looks neater, is more messy to store and eat! It’s funny how things work out sometimes.
In the first version, I baked the caramel into the cookie, and this resulted in a funny looking cookie since the caramel essentially melted right through the cookie and created a hole in the middle. It looks like a mess but it’s actually a really delicious chewy mess. The caramel re-caramelized in the oven and turned into a more solid caramel. The only gooey part comes from the melted dark chocolate. This version is easy to store in a container. The second batch I made, I baked the cookie part first. After it came out of the oven I pressed down the middle with a spoon to create a well that I then put the caramel in. This cookie also came out delicious, but the caramel never cooked into the cookie so it remained as a thick sauce on top. This cookie is also great but it needs to be stored in the refrigerator to ensure that the caramel holds its shape. Both versions came out great, but different.
I will show you now how I made them. And you can decide which way you prefer to follow, or do it like I did and make both! =)
Like I mentioned earlier this cookie recipe uses the The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER as a base. So the first steps are all the same. I won’t go into great detail about how to make the cookie part, you can see everything on that recipe. But I will take you through the essentials. First cream together the melted butter and brown sugar and white sugar and then add the egg and egg yolk and vanilla. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Easy Homemade Brown Sugar recipe.
Have your All Purpose flour, baking soda and salt mixed together and ready to go.
Once all the wet ingredients have been combined, add in the flour mixture. It will be a wetter dough. Be sure not to over-mix.
Now add the dark chocolate chips/chunks. You don’t want to add too much. Just enough that every cookie will have a few chocolate chips. In this cookie, the chocolate chips are not the stars, but a team player.
I used a 1/2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop to portion my cookies. Normally (without the caramel) the cookies would not be as crowded like this, but with the caramel they spread more, so maybe crowd the pan less if you want to bake the caramel into the cookies.
After portioning out all of my cookies, I created wells in the center using a spoon.
Then I poured about a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of the thick caramel into each well. This is a variation of my Homemade Easy Caramel Sauce recipe. I will post the exact details in my recipe card at the bottom of this post. If the caramel is too tough to manipulate (too thick) you can stick it in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften it.
It’s not salted caramel without the salt! I then sprinkled some coarse sea salt on top.
I also did a little side experiment where I added some more cookie dough on top of the caramel on some of the cookies. This proved to make very little difference at first but now looking back, maybe the cookies with the little bit more cookie dough on top didn’t have a hole in the center. So I would probably recommend trying this if you do not want a hole in the center. Put them into the preheated oven as soon as they are assembled.
As you can see, this is what the cookies came out like from the oven. They needed some extra time to bake. The original recipe is 15-17 minutes. But these needed closer to 20 minutes to bake properly. Keep that in mind if you want to bake the caramel into the cookie.
After letting the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes I transferred them to a cooling rack. This proved to be a challenging task since the cookies were so flexible, for lack of a better word, from the caramel. Since the cookies were not setting properly I then decided to put them into the fridge for 15 minutes to see if that would help, and it actually really did. Instead of doing what I did and transferring the cookies to a cooling rack after 5 minutes, I would recommend keeping them on the parchment paper or silpat and sticking it directly into the fridge for 15 minutes and THEN removing them from the baking sheet/parchment paper. I think this will help them hold their shape better. You can really see the holes in the center of the cookies better in this picture.
In my second batch, I baked the cookie dough as is in the oven for 17 min. Only after baking, did I push down in the center of each cookie with a spoon as soon it came out of the oven.
Once there was a little well created in the warm cookie, I then put the caramel in the center and then sprinkled some coarse sea salt on top. I put the cookie sheet back into the oven for a minute to let the caramel melt into the cookie just a little bit. After removing the cookie sheet I realized that this caramel needed to be set in the fridge so I put the entire cookie sheet directly into the fridge for 20 minutes. After that you can eat them immediately, or store them in the fridge face up until you are ready to eat them.
As you can see there are 2 different ways that you could make this cookie, but no matter what you will end up with a dark chocolate salted caramel cookie in the end! The cookies where the caramel is baked into it can be stored outside and stacked in a container. The cookies with the caramel added afterwards need to be first set in the fridge on a baking sheet, then they can be stacked face up once the caramel is cooled, but they must be put back into the fridge until you are ready to eat them.
I hope you give this recipe a try for yourself! Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you do and which version you decided to make for yourself! I would love to hear what you thought of it! Be sure to subscribe so that you can be notified when I post new recipes! (link in the sidebar). Follow me on Instagram @saltyoversweet (I also post a lot of Instagram stories of what I am making that day) and find me on Facebook (the link is in the sidebar). You can also tag me on Instagram @saltyoversweet if you make any of my recipes I would love to see! =)
- 1 batch - adapted Caramel Sauce - see adaption directions below.
- 2 cups - All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon - Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon - Salt
- 3/4 cup - Melted Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup - Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup - White Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon - Vanilla Extract
- 1 - Large Egg
- 1 - Large Egg Yolk
- 1 Cup - Dark Chocolate Chips/Chunks
- Coarse Sea Salt - for garnish
- Follow the directions for making Caramel Sauce in my previous blog post.
- Use this ratio instead: 11/2 Cups Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Butter, 2/3 cup Heavy Cream, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt. This adjustment will result in a thicker stickier sauce.
- Preheat oven to 325deg.
- Mix dry ingredients - AP Flour, Baking Soda, Salt - in a seperate bowl.
- Mix butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl or stand mixer, add eggs vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add Flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Add chocolate chips and mix in with a spatula or spoon.
- Distribute dough onto baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
- Create well in raw cookie dough rounds on baking sheet and fill with homemade caramel sauce and then sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, let baking sheet cool for 5-10 minutes and then put it into fridge for 15 minutes to allow the cookies to set.
- Once the cookies have set you can remove them from the baking sheet and store in a container at room temperature.
- Distribute cookies onto baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- Once cookies have finished baking, remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- While the cookies are still hot, push down on the center of the cookies with a spoon to create a well.
- Spoon in some caramel sauce into the wells of the cookies while they are still hot.
- Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top.
- Place cookies back into the oven for 1 minute to allow the caramel to melt into the cookie a little.
- After 1 minute remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow it to cool. Once cool, put the baking sheet into the fridge for 20-25 minutes until the caramel sets.
- Once the caramel has set you can remove the cookies from the baking sheet and stack them in a container for storage. The second version needs to be stored in the fridge until you are ready to eat them to keep the caramel set.
- Enjoy! =)
- *Both versions of this cookie need some fridge time to help set the caramel properly.
- *Be sure to use the adapted caramel recipe for the caramel added to these cookies.
- *Version 1 is chewier, nuttier and more toffee-like than Version 2. It depends on what kind of cookie you enjoy.
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