These completely irresistible caramel stuffed Nutella cookies are extra soft and chewy with a hidden caramel surprise inside! Flavored with creamy Nutella, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and chunky hazelnuts, these cookies were easily loved by all. For best success, use the caramel candies suggested in the recipe and don’t skip the chilling step.
Welcome to day 9 in Sally’s Cookie Palooza, a day where I’m showing you how to stuff salted Nutella cookies with gooey caramel. It’s a beautiful day already, no?
These Caramel Stuffed Nutella Cookies Are:
- Soft and chewy in the centers
- Crisp on the edges
- Stuffed with caramel candies– a sweet surprise!
- Filled with chunky hazelnuts
- Flavored with Nutella, vanilla, + brown sugar
- Topped with coarse salt
I plead my case. Caramel stuffed Nutella cookies are the best on the planet– they flew off the cookie tray at our friend’s house quicker than I could describe what they were. One bite tastes like a Ferrero Rocher truffle, a cookie, and a spoonful of sweet caramel all at once. There’s a few important notes, success tips, and tricks to teach you before you get started, so let’s sit back and see how these heavenly circles came to life.
Behind the Recipe
I tested this recipe more times than I could count. They KEPT over-spreading! I started with my peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies as the base, but replaced the peanut butter with Nutella. Nutella is thinner and silkier, so I reduced the amount. Nothing helped those flat puddles. Back to the drawing board. Then I turned to my chewy chocolate chip cookies. I swapped melted butter for softened butter to give the cookies more structure, added Nutella, a little extra flour, removed the extra egg yolk and cornstarch, and seemed to be on the right track. They spread a little more than I was hoping. This cookie was turning out to be more frustrating than untangling Christmas lights.
Finally, I added 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to bulk up the dough even more.
Jackpot. We have a winner!
Ingredients in Caramel Stuffed Nutella Cookies
- All-Purpose Flour: Like always, flour is the base of today’s cookie recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened natural cocoa powder adds bulk to the cookie dough, which helps prevent excess spreading. It also adds a light cocoa flavor.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda lifts the cookies.
- Salt & Coarse Salt: We’ll add regular table salt to the cookie dough and sprinkle a little coarse salt on top. The topping is optional, but tastes remarkable with the Nutella and caramel flavors. You know how I feel about salted caramel!
- Butter: Use softened butter. Remember that room temperature butter is not as warm as you think. Let it sit out for only 1 hour before starting. It will be cool to touch.
- Brown Sugar: Like my chewy chocolate chip cookies, let’s use more brown sugar than regular white sugar to help create a chewier, more flavorful cookie.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar, like brown sugar, sweetens the dough.
- Egg: You need 1 room temperature egg for this cookie dough.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor.
- Nutella: What’s a Nutella cookie without the good stuff? Depending on the age of the jar, Nutella can be super thin and smooth (a newer jar) or thick and clumpy (a leftover jar). Give the Nutella a few big stirs to help create the creamy, silky consistency you see in the picture below. That’s what we want in our cookies.
- Hazelnuts: The chopped hazelnuts are optional, but provide flavor and a textural contrast to the smooth caramel stuffed inside.
- Caramel Candies: The BEST caramel candies to use are either (1) Rolo candies or (2) Werther’s brand soft caramels. Kraft caramel squares seem to have gotten firmer and harder in the past couple years and won’t create a gooey caramel center like Rolos or the Werther’s. The caramel you use definitely matters, so stick with my suggestions.
If you’re up for it, you can even use homemade soft caramels.
How to Make Caramel Stuffed Nutella Cookies
Easier than you think.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Beat the wet ingredients together.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- Beat in the hazelnuts.
- Chill the cookie dough. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a cookie dough that must chill out in the refrigerator before shaping and baking– Nutella is just so gooey! 3 hours of chilling is ideal.
- Shape the cookie dough. Take 1 scant Tablespoon of cookie dough, stick a caramel inside, and place 1 more scant Tablespoon of cookie dough on top. Smooth the cookie dough over the caramel to completely hide it inside the dough ball.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt + bake.
The cookie dough is creamy, airy, and mousse-like right after mixing. (Below left.) After chilling, it’s pretty stiff (below right), so use a cookie scoop or 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon to help you measure the dough you need.
If using Werther’s brand soft caramels (highly recommended), fold it in half. They’re long caramels, so you need to bend them to fit inside the cookie dough.
The caramel will ooze out a little. See above. It’s normal, it’s expected, it’s delicious!
If the cookies are over-spreading as they bake, use my “How to Save Flat Cookies” trick explained at the bottom of my How to Prevent Cookies from Spreading post. (Use a spoon to help shape them back together.)
3 Success Tips
- Use the caramels recommended. I am not working with either brand, but I’ve baked enough caramel stuffed cookies to know which store-bought caramels work. Salted caramel chocolate chip cookies, anyone?
- Completely enrobe the caramel inside the cookie dough. No caramel exposed!
- Chill the cookie dough. I know I’m a broken record here, but sometimes bakers ask if they can skip this step. Trust me, I wouldn’t tell you to wait 3 hours for chilling cookie dough if you didn’t have to! You can even make the cookie dough the night before, then bake the cookies the next day. The refrigerator is cookie dough’s best friend. If you’re interested, see my post on how to prevent cookies from spreading for more on the importance of chilling certain cookie dough recipes.
And these caramel stuffed Nutella cookies are your new best friend.
What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?
Sally’s Cookie Palooza is my annual Christmas cookie countdown tradition. First starting in 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 new cookie recipes. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂
Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!
These caramel stuffed Nutella cookies are extra soft and chewy with a hidden caramel surprise inside. For best success, use the caramel candies suggested in the recipe and don’t skip the chilling step.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 Tablespoons (10g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (225g) Nutella
- 1 heaping cup (130g) chopped hazelnuts
- 28 soft caramel candies (see recipe note)
- optional: coarse salt or sea salt for topping
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and Nutella and beat on high until completely combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Beat in the hazelnuts. Dough will be thick, yet airy and sticky. Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. If chilling for longer (up to 3 days), allow dough to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before scooping and baking.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Cookie dough will be firm after chilling, but will come together with the warmth of your hands. Measure 1 scant Tablespoon of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Indent your thumb into it. Place caramel candy inside. (See recipe note.) Take another 1 scant Tablespoon of cookie dough and use it to completely cover the caramel candy on top. Roll the caramel-stuffed dough into an even ball. Make sure the caramel is completely wrapped inside. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Repeat with remaining cookie dough and caramels. Arrange cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Place any remaining cookie dough balls in the refrigerator as you bake the other batches. (Best to keep those dough balls cold.)
- Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes until the edges appear set. Caramel may have oozed out a little. (That’s ok!) The centers will look very soft and under-baked. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a thin spatula to help transfer the cookies to the cooling rack, especially if some caramel oozed out.
- Cover and store leftover cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls (with caramel inside) freeze well up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Here’s how to freeze cookie dough.
- Caramel Candies: The BEST caramel candies to use are either (1) Rolo candies (the little chocolate covered caramels) or (2) Werther’s brand soft caramels. Kraft caramel squares seem to have gotten firmer and harder in the past couple years and won’t create a gooey caramel center like Rolos or the Werther’s. The caramel you use definitely matters, so stick to either of my suggestions. If using Werther’s brand, fold them in half because they are pretty long and won’t fit inside the cookie dough ball otherwise.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: Nutella, hazelnuts, caramel, cookies