Caramel Surprise Snickerdoodles

Soft & chewy snickerdoodle cookies stuffed with caramel. Quick, simple, and you don’t even need a mixer to make them!

stack of caramel surprise snickerdoodle cookies broken in half showing the caramel inside on a white plate

We have reached the final recipe in Sally’s Cookie Palooza party. 10 cookie recipes in 12 days. My cookie jar is literally overflowing. My freezer is full of cookie dough. My neighbors are sugar-ed out. Kevin’s coworkers think I’m a crazy cookie lady.

 

(And they are totally thankful, for the record.)

cookie palooza logo image

I made today’s cookie recipe to bring home for the holidays. My snickerdoodle-loving mom will be endlessly cooking the entire week, so I offered to make a few dozen cookies for the dessert trays. I have a feeling these cookies will blow everyone’s mind.

caramel stuffed snickerdoodle cookies on a baking sheet

So what exactly do we have here? Why it’s another stuffed cookie!

You’re looking at a cinnamon-kissed snickerdoodle cookie stuffed with soft caramel candies. But not just any snickerdoodle – this recipe makes soft, chewy snickerdoodles. And guess what? You don’t even need a mixer to make them.

Yup. Mind-blowing.

stack of caramel surprise snickerdoodle cookies broken in half showing the caramel inside on a baking sheet

The recipe is a little different from my wildly popular Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles, a cookie recipe I posted earlier this year. Those cookies are like little snickerdoodle pillows! And I completely love them.

However, I wanted a chewier snickerdoodle today. Still soft, but heavy on the chew. I didn’t stray too far from the originals because that recipe is so darn good.

I only changed a few simple things:

  • Switched from creamed butter to melted butter. Melted butter creates a chewier cookie. Since you’re not creaming butter, you don’t need a mixer.
  • Very slightly reduced the flour so the cookies could be a little flatter. But, as you can see, they’re still quite thick!
  • Subbed a bit of brown sugar for the white sugar. Brown sugar gives cookies a wonderful flavor as well as increases a cookie’s soft texture.

Oh… and I stuffed them with caramel. Surprise!

stack of caramel surprise snickerdoodle cookies broken in half showing the caramel inside on a white plate

This cookie dough comes together quite quickly. Important: make sure you use a whisk when mixing your wet ingredients. The melted butter will separate from the rest of the ingredients if you do not whisk it all together very well.

After the wet and dry ingredients are combined, the dough will be very thick and heavy. In fact, you’ll work a few arm muscles stirring it all together.

Um, who says baking is not a workout?!

The thick cookie dough must chill for at least 1 hour. Otherwise, you’ll have some spreading issues. Not pretty, trust me.

snickerdoodle cookie dough in a pink bowl with a spatula

As the dough chills for a quick hour, get your caramels ready. You’ll need soft caramels like Kraft Caramels or Werther’s Original Baking Caramels. Alternatively, you could use Rolo candies – or any caramel candy bar like Snickers or Milky Way. (Yum.)

I used Kraft caramels. Cut the caramels into small pieces. Why cut them? Because you don’t want the entire caramel inside the cookie or else you will have pools of caramel all over your baking sheet. The entire caramel is too much for this cookie dough.

I cut each caramel square into 4 pieces. And then 2 pieces will go into the cookie.

Kraft caramels cut into small pieces on a white cutting board

(Yes, I have a pink polka dotted knife. And it’s awesome.)

Once your cookie dough has chilled for at least 1 hour, it will be sort of crumbly. That’s ok! As you roll the cookie dough into balls and stuff them, the dough will come together. Just keep rolling it between your hands.

Stuffing the cookie dough is quite simple. Roll 1.5 – 2 Tablespoons of dough. Mine were about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each. Break that dough ball in half. Stick two caramels inside one half. Smoosh the other half on top and roll it all up again, securing the caramel inside. Then, in true snickerdoodle style, roll into cinnamon-sugar.

Here’s a little visual:

collage of 5 images showing how to make caramel stuffed snickerdoodle cookies

Now what? Time to bake the caramel surprise cookies!

The snickerdoodles take about 10-11 minutes in the oven. They’ll be slightly puffy and look very soft when they’re done. You’ll be tempted to keep them in longer, but don’t.

Here’s what my snickerdoodles looked like right before I took them out of the oven. (Note: this was the last of the cookie dough so there are only 6 cookies on the sheet!)

snickerdoodle cookies on a silpat baking mat on a baking sheet in the oven

Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They’ll slightly deflate as they cool. Depending on the caramel you use, it will stay soft inside the cookie for the first day or two. Otherwise you’ll have to warm the cookies up for a few seconds in the microwave to get the caramel gooey again. And um, that’s totally ok in my book.

I have these cookies set aside to bring home in the morning and it’s taking every ounce of self control to not dig in! However, the one cookie I did taste? Dunked it in some coffee and it was all kinds of amazing. I suggest you do the same. 😉

Snickerdoodle lovers and caramel lovers unite today. You’re all going to go nuts for this recipe! And the best part? They’re simple. Don’t lug out your mixer, don’t set aside hours in your day. Quick, easy, and taste like you slaved in the kitchen all day.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

stack of caramel surprise snickerdoodle cookies broken in half showing the caramel inside

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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stack of caramel surprise snickerdoodle cookies broken in half showing the caramel inside on a white plate

Caramel Surprise Snickerdoodles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 20-24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Soft & chewy snickerdoodle cookies stuffed with caramel. You don’t even need a mixer to make them! This cookie dough requires at least 1 hour of chilling.


Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (344g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (70g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 12 soft wrapped caramel candies, such as Kraft Caramels or Werther’s Original Baking Caramels

For Rolling

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. For the cookies: Toss the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until smooth. You must use a whisk in order to prevent the butter from separating. Whisk in the egg, then the vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very thick and heavy, yet slightly crumbly. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. Unwrap the caramels and cut each into 4 pieces. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll the dough into balls, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each. You’ll have about 20-24 balls, give or take. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will allow the balls to stay intact.
  5. Please use the visual above to help guide you through this step: Break each dough ball in half. Make a thumbprint into the bottom of one half and press two pieces of caramel inside, as shown above. Smoosh the other half of the dough on top and roll the dough between your hands to make a smooth ball. Make sure the caramels are completely wrapped inside.
  6. For the topping: Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Roll each stuffed dough ball into the mixture to coat evenly. Place 10 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes. The cookies will look very puffy, soft, and under baked. That’s ok. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week. Depending on the caramel you use, it will stay soft inside the cookie for the first day or two. Otherwise you’ll have to warm the cookies up for a few seconds in the microwave to get the caramel gooey again.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Cookies freeze well, up to 2 months. Cookie dough balls freeze well, up to 2 months.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: caramel snickerdoodles

36 Comments

  1. I made these on Sunday and they are positively scrummy! I brought them in to work (lest I eat them ALL) and I am pretty sure some New Year’s resolutions were broken as a result!

    I love to bake but I might need to take a break…your recipes are TOO delicious! 🙂

  2. Hi! I made the caramel surprise snicker doodles twice now using your recipe. The cookie portion is perfect but the caramel always remains in cubes, unmelted, even though I cut them into quarters. Any suggestions on how to remedy this?

    1. Hey Kat! Which brand caramels are you using? If using Kraft as suggested, I know they get hard overtime. So make sure you bag of them is fresh. If you can pull a freshly unwrapped caramel apart and it stretches, it’s perfect to use in these cookies.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to reply Sally! I am very new at baking and am enjoying using your recipes. I used Werther’s baking caramel and they felt like hard candy right off the supermarket shelf. I’ll give the Kraft brand a try next time and now I know what baking caramel is supposed to feel like, haha. Keep up the great work. Have a great weekend!

  3. Sally, I use to think that cookies should just have chocolate chips or M&M’s and that was it (I LOVE chocolate)…until I came across your blog. I just made these cookies today and they are absolute perfection, like heaven in your mouth. I only let myself have one for now (planning on freezing most so I don’t gain 10 pounds, thank you!) but it was hard. I no longer have a favorite cookie recipe, because I just can’t decide. Every one of your recipes that I’ve made have turned out fantastic. Thank you for sharing!! =)

  4. I do believe these are the first ‘novelty’ cookies I’ve ever made twice. Made them for a Christmas party in December, and made them again today for a board games & booze gathering with friends. They turned out incredibly both times. So thank you! 😀

  5. Lorrie Toves says:

    Love Love this recipe!….Thank you Sally for sharing recipes and your blog to the world. I’ve tried many other snickerdoodle recipe and yours is the BEST. Its been a hit every time I make them. Thank you!

  6. Hey Sally, I made up these cookie balls last night and they are chilling in my fridge ready to be baked up tonight for an event tomorrow. Can I bake these straight from the fridge (or freezer, for future reference)? Or should I let them come to room temp a bit? I stuffed them with whoppers since I had nothing else caramely … hope that turns out okay. Thank you!

    1. Hi Faye! Yes – these cookies may be baked straight from the refrigerator or freezer. Maybe add an extra minute or two if frozen. And maybe 1 extra minute from the refrigerator.

  7. Sally, I baked these yesterday but instead of using regular melted butter I browned it and I swear by doing that made the cookies taste so much better than my last try. I recommend by browning the butter before adding the other ingredients. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  8. Hi, can I use the regular werther’s caramel candies? I can’t find the baking ones not the kraft’s ones here.

    1. You may use any brand of soft caramels for this recipe – not hard caramels.

  9. Oh my word. I just made these. They were lovely.

  10. Sally, these cookies are amazing!! I never thought the caramel would stay soft/chewy the next day but it does! I thought it would be rock hard – lol! I am in love. 😉 Which is not surprising. I have tried dozens of your recipes and so far they all are amazing! My favorites are your cinnamon rolls or your frosted chai snickerdoodles. Also I make your cheese pizza (with pineapple) weekly. You are amazing and beautiful. 🙂

  11. Hi Sally!

    I just made these cookies. They are delicious but I have one question…why would my caramel not melt? I used Brach’s caramels and even though they are a different brand it looks like what you used. They were the chewy candy. I checked the recipe when done and it looked like I did everything correct. Any suggestions? Just curious. Thanks!!

    1. That’s strange! Were your caramels very soft to begin with? I know that some of my bags of Brach’s get a little hard after awhile.

  12. Can Rolo’s be used instead of soft caramels??

    1. Definitely!

  13. Thanks for the recipe!  If I make these cookies ahead for Christmastime and freeze them after baking, will the caramel be hard?  Will I need to warm them before serving?  I’m planning to use Kraft caramels…

    1. Freeze then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then I would warm them in a 300F oven for 5 minutes or so– to get that caramel gooey again.

  14. Just made these today love them. Very soft chewy and a nice gooey center. Will be making these again.

  15. Meghan Cline says:

    I made these last night, and they turned out exactly like the photos. My coworkers LOVED them and kept coming back for more. I highly suggest nuking them in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

  16. Hi! Can you freeze this recipe?

    1. Absolutely! Up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The caramel won’t be as gooey after freezing, though.

  17. Any suggestions for stuffing these cookies with Biscoff? Would I need to harden chunks of cookie butter first, or would it be fine to just fill the cookie with a little bit of it?

    1. I’d maybe freeze little chunks/balls of Biscoff then stuff inside the dough. Let me know how it goes because it sounds incredibly good!

  18. These cookies are PHENOMENAL!! They are for sure going to be a favorite at the cookie exchange I’m taking them to. Should have made a double batch, but will definitely make again. Yummmmm, thank you!

  19. I am planning o making these today, as snicker doodles have become a family favorite and specialty of mine. As for the caramel, that’s all for me. That said, I don’t have any caramel candies on hand. I do have a wonderfu thick caramel dessert topping. I wonder if I portion it out and put it in the fridge, if that would suffice… Thoughts ?

    1. Hi Tina! I haven’t tried that, but it *might* work. I would freeze the little drops of caramel before rolling inside the cookie dough. Let me know how your snickerdoodle cookies turn out!

  20. Jolene Torres says:

    Sally, this recipe is divine! I followed it exactly, and they came out perfect. I think I did make a few a bit small, since I ended up with about 28 cookies instead of 24. However, Only a few of them split, and the rest are gorgeous and taste beyond delicious! I also think this is just the most amazing-looking dough–it’s fluffy and soft and comes together almost like ice cream. And the baked cookies are perfect.

    Seriously, Sally, every single recipe I have tried from your site is my favorite recipe for that thing, and this is no exception! Thanks for all your work and your excellent recipes.

  21. betsy williams says:

    This recipe looks fantastic. I ‘d like to include these among my Christmas cookie gift tins Therefore, will be freezing the cookies for 2 weeks. What happens to the caramels after I have defrosted the cookies.? Thinking that if they stay too hard, might not give these to
    the older recipients Would use Kraft brand Thanks love your recipes

    1. Hi Betsy! The caramels do harden when they’re in the freezer (and then when they are thawed)– they aren’t nearly as soft as they are in cookies that have not been frozen. Using the softest caramels you can find is always best. I like Kraft squares or the Werther’s brand soft caramels, too.

  22. Jennifer McGibbon says:

    I made the Caramel Surprise Snickerdoodles yesterday. I liked the flavor but the caramel melted out of the bottom of the cookies and stuck to the silicone pads. I did cut the caramel in fourths and only used two pieces per cookie. Also, the caramel hardened as soon as they were cool – they did not stay soft for a day or two.

  23. Hi Sally! If I were to freeze these cookies would I thaw them in room temp? & will the caramel still be soft inside or should I microwave? thank you!!!

    1. You can warm them a bit (microwave is great) to soften the caramel!

  24. Made these cookies for Christmas, they turned out great. I used caramels and rolo candy and also some salted chocolate candies in them. i am going to freeze them. I got 24 cookies.

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