Chocolate Caramel Cookies

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Bakery-style, soft and chewy, sweet Chocolate Caramel Cookies are baked with a chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center and Maldon sea salt flakes on top!

We love adding caramel to cookies — try our other flavors next like these Caramel-Stuffed Cookies or Caramel Oatmeal Cookies!

Image of the Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

While you may be thinking these are just ordinary chocolate cookies with a caramel candy in the center, these cookies are anything but ordinary! These cookies are fudgy, ridiculously rich, soft and chewy. They’re basically a caramel-filled brownie in cookie form! 

So what makes this Chocolate Caramel Cookies recipe so special? 

  • Two kinds of chocolate chips: We use both regular chocolate chips and miniature chocolate chips to add a different texture and dimension to the cookies.
  • Two kinds of cocoa powder: These cookies have regular unsweetened cocoa powder AND Dutch-process cocoa powder, and those add such a great depth of flavor and make these cookies deeply chocolate-y without being overwhelming. 
  • The “secret ingredient:” The secret ingredient in this recipe is sour cream. Yes, really! Sour cream makes these cookies ridiculously soft and chewy. The cookies literally melt in your mouth!
  • Two kinds of extracts: Vanilla extract is usually a given for cookies, but these cookies also have almond extract. It might sound weird, but you’ll be amazed at how well the almond accentuates the other flavors. It goes so well with all the chocolate and caramel.
  • A sprinkle of sea salt: Just a touch of sea salt flakes ties everything together — all the different types of chocolate and the gooey caramel center — it’s the perfect finishing touch!
  • A soft caramel filling that also adds in some chocolate: These cookies have an unwrapped Rolo® candy in the center which adds even MORE chocolate and the caramel stays soft and gooey! Even when these cookies are 100% cooled, the caramel doesn’t get hard — score!

QUICK TIP

Use any leftover Rolo candies in one of these recipes: Mini Brownie Bites with RolosTurtle Candy, or Caramel Snickerdoodles!

Process shots-- images of the butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, and sour cream being creamed together

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Ingredients 

  • Butter: Use unsalted, real butter. We like to use unsalted and then add our own salt so we can perfectly control the amount of salt in the cookies.
  • Sugar: White and light (not dark) brown sugar go into these cookies.
  • Egg
  • Sour cream: This is the secret to soft and fudgy cookies! Be sure to use real, full-fat sour cream. These cookies were also tested with full-fat Greek yogurt and didn’t yield the same end result; stick to sour cream for this recipe!

Process shots-- images of the dry ingredients being prepped and mixed together

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Ingredients, Continued

  • Extracts: Vanilla extract is essential; the almond extract is optional, but it does add a nice hint of nutty flavor.
  • Cocoa powders: These are arguably the most important ingredients in this recipe — I discuss the two cocoa powders below!
  • Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and fine sea salt: Make sure to use fresh baking agents and fine sea salt in this recipe. If you’re using a different type of salt, you’ll need to play around with the amount — not all salts salt the same. Table salt is much finer so you’ll need a lot less!
  • Chocolate chips: We love a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips in these cookies. The milk chocolate can be replaced with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips if you prefer those.

Process shots of these chocolate caramel cookies-- images of the wet and dry ingredients being combined and the dough being rolled in balls and Rolo being added in the middle

Cocoa powder

For this recipe, we use two types of cocoa powder — regular unsweetened cocoa powder and special dark or Dutch-process cocoa powder. While it may not seem like a big deal to change out or use only one type of cocoa powder in these chocolate caramel cookies, the two aren’t the same, and interchanging the two won’t give you the same end result.

Dutch-process cocoa powder has the acid stripped out, so you’ll need some sort of acid to be added to the recipe for results to be the same. And using all unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder means the cookies are lacking in flavor and richness.

QUICK TIP

Want to know more about the differences between cocoa powders? Here is a great summary!

Process shots--- images of the dough balls on a tray before being baked and after being baked

Chocolate Caramel Cookie tips

  • Use real butter: Butter gives these cookies body, texture, and flavor. By beating it with the sugars at the start, you’re fluffing up the butter with air which gives these cookies that perfect foundation for a great texture. It’s important the butter is at room temperature (not melted or overly softened) so we can get this texture.
  • Spoon and level the flour or weigh it to get a more accurate measurement. Too much flour makes this recipe cake-like. If you have a food scale, pull it out; it will give you the most accurate measurement.
  • Chill the dough. Chilling helps solidify the butter and concentrate the flavors. It also makes rolling these into balls easier. We chill the dough twice with this recipe — once after making the dough and another quick chill after rolling dough balls.

Image of the cookie being split in half, showing the inside

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Tips, Continued

  • Bake on a Silpat liner or parchment paper. This helps with quick clean-up, ensures the bottoms don’t burn, and helps deliver even baking throughout. It’s especially important in case some of the caramel leaks out of the cookies onto the parchment paper.
  • Don’t overbake. The best way to have soft, fudge-like cookies is to ever-so-slightly under-bake them (I pull them out as soon as the top loses the glossy or wet look). If these cookies are overbaked, they become hard and far less flavorful as they cool.
  • Make them pretty. Press some chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies as soon as you take them out of the oven; this ensures even dispersion of chocolate and they also look more appetizing. This also makes it so that the sea salt flakes will adhere nicely to the cookies (the salt sticks to that melted chocolate on top).

Half of a cookie being held up with caramel oozing out

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Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Bakery-style, soft and chewy, sweet Chocolate Caramel Cookies are baked with a chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center and Maldon sea salt flakes on top!
Print Recipe

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Bakery-style, soft and chewy, sweet Chocolate Caramel Cookies are baked with a chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center and Maldon sea salt flakes on top!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel chocolate cookies, Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 32 -34 cookies
Calories 124kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $7.12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (160g) white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (105g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (118g) FULL-FAT sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups (225g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder Note 1
  • 1/4 cup (20g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (47g) miniature chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (138g) milk chocolate chips
  • 32-34 regular-sized Rolo candies, unwrapped
  • Optional: sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes

Instructions

  • CREAM BUTTER AND SUGARS: In a large bowl, with a hand mixer (or use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), cream room temperature (not softened or melted) butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (the mixture should resemble peanut butter). Beat in egg, sour cream, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: In a separate bowl combine the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in both kinds of chocolate chips and stir once more.
  • COMBINE: Combine wet and dry and mix until JUST combined, being careful to not overmix the dough. The dough is VERY thick and moist. Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour up to 4 hours.
  • STUFF DOUGH WITH ROLOS: Line a large tray with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Measure 1-1/2 tablespoonfuls (26g) for each cookie and then roll an unwrapped rolo into the dough. Make sure the rolo is completely encapsulated by the dough. The dough is very wet and sticky so this party is tricky and messy! If the dough is too wet, put it back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes and try again. Place the cookies 2-3 inches apart. (I only bake 6 cookies at a time -- they spread a lot!) Chill dough balls on sheet pan for 20 minutes before baking.
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 degrees for convection baking).
  • BAKE: Bake for 8-14 minutes or until set (just until the top is no longer glossy). Be careful not to over bake. A soft, very slightly underbaked cookie is the best for a delicious fudgy texture! Remove from the oven and let cookies stand on sheet pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack.
  • MAKE 'EM PRETTY: While the cookies are just out of the oven and still on the sheet pan, press a few more chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies. Let stand for a few minutes and then sprinkle some salt onto the melty chocolate chips on top of the cookies. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before enjoying. Repeat to bake the rest of the cookies or freeze some of the dough (see step 8).
  • STORAGE: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They're best enjoyed within 3-4 days. Freeze cookie dough as opposed to baked cookies (see next step).
  • FREEZING DOUGH: Instead of freezing already-baked cookies, freeze the dough! Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: You can bake these cookies straight from the freezer. There is no need to thaw, but you may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Bake until the top is no longer glossy, and the center is still soft.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: For this recipe, we use two types of cocoa powder -- regular unsweetened cocoa powder and special dark or Dutch-process cocoa powder. While it may not seem like a big deal to change out or use only one type of cocoa powder in these chocolate caramel cookies, the two aren't the same, and interchanging the two won't give you the same end result. (Dutch-process cocoa powder has the acid stripped out, so you'll need some sort of acid to be added to the recipe for results to be the same. And using all unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder leaves the cookies lacking in flavor and richness.)

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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