Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Try my red velvet whoopie pies next!

chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting on a white plate

When I asked you on Instagram if you wanted a chocolate whoopie pie with salted caramel filling or Nutella frosting filling– (1) I didn’t realize that it’s national caramel day tomorrow and (2) I 100% prayed like a caramel-craving fa-reak that you’d say salted caramel.

And the majority voted for salted caramel, so it’s a win win in the chocolate world today. Whoopie!

chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting on a white cake stand and one whoopie pie near the base

This is my basic chocolate whoopie pie recipe. We’ve ventured into the whoopie pie scene before– remember the red velvet version? Same story here, just pure chocolate flavor. Now normally I’m not all about chocolate. You know I’d much rather have my apple pies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and a funfetti razzmatazz any day of the week. But when it comes to whoopie pies: why are we kidding ourselves? Chocolate is the only way to go. (Unless it’s pumpkin. That recipe is coming in Sally’s Cookie Addiction!)

Chocolate whoopie pies are like mini chocolate cake sandwiches and if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. They’re baked as cookies and stay extra soft because of the creamy filling inside. Fillings can range from traditional marshmallow filling (and you’ll find that recipe in the paperback edition of my 1st cookbook!) and mint chocolate to peanut butter and maybe even strawberry? (YUM!)

Use any of those fillings if salted caramel isn’t your fave.

dry ingredients for chocolate whoopie pies in a glass bowl with a whisk

Cake Batter or Cookie Dough?

But it all starts with a quality chocolate dough. Actually, this stuff is more like a super thick cake batter than a cookie dough. And that’s just the thing I want to run by you before you get started– don’t be nervous about the cake batter spreading and spilling all over the baking sheet. The whoopie pies actually stay intact pretty well. There’s enough baking soda to provide lift/shape and flour for support.

You don’t need any crazy ingredients to make chocolate whoopie pies, but there is another thing I want to run by you: you need 6 Tablespoons of cocoa powder. Not 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, or 1/2 cup. 6 Tablespoons. Which is simply 1/3 cup + an additional Tablespoon. Use unsweetened natural cocoa powder, not dutch-process. Why? This should answer everything. The two act completely different in baking.

I like to use brown sugar instead of the traditional white granulated sugar. Primarily for a little extra flavor, but if we’re being honest– for lots and lots of extra moisture. Have you ever taken a bite out of a dry whoopie pie or dry piece of chocolate cake? I’d rather eat raw broccoli with frosting on to… I can’t even finish that sentence. Also for moisture: buttermilk.

The cake batter is very sticky– almost tacky. In my cookbook, I make the whoopie pies extra large, but I decided to shrink ’em down today. There’s 1.5 Tablespoons of batter per cookie and you know what will make life easier? I strongly suggest using a medium cookie scoop to keep things uniform and neat. This cake batter can get quite messy and I swear by a cookie scoop. Makes dividing up/shaping the batter/life SO MUCH EASIER!

2 images of chocolate whoopie pie batter in a stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and a cookie scoop with batter

chocolate whoopie pie batter on a baking sheet before baking

chocolate whoopie pies after baking

Since you used a cookie scoop, the cookies are all the same shape so matching them up is a breeze.

And now the salted caramel filling! Let’s revisit my new + improved salted caramel frosting I posted the other week. That’s exactly what you’ll use to fill these chocolate whoopie pies. No candy thermometer or special equipment required other than a pan and a mixer. A couple tips on the frosting because I’ve gotten some Q’s recently:

Salted Caramel Frosting Dos + Don’ts

  • Make sure your brown sugar is extra soft and moist. Not hard! (Read here about what I use to keep it soft and moist! Love those things.)
  • Make sure you are whisking the melted butter + brown sugar + cream together before it begins to boil.
  • Do not use margarine! Use butter.
  • Do not use milk! Use heavy cream.
  • If the frosting is too thick after you’ve added the confectioners’ sugar and extra heavy cream, add a little more cream to thin out if needed.

salted caramel frosting in a pink bowl with a hand mixer

chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting

overhead image of chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I may actually like salted caramel and chocolate together more than peanut butter and chocolate together. WHOAAAAAAAA. Actually, it’s a tie. But honestly, how miraculous is the combination of creamy salted caramel + soft, rich, moist chocolate cake? There’s nothing quite like this power duo.

overhead image of chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting

I’m grateful for many things in life, but mostly for how the stars aligned this week. You voted for salted caramel and national caramel day is right around the corner. And these chocolate whoopie pies are practically begging for a salty sweet creamy center. When you take that first bite, you’ll know exactly what I’m sayin’.

Print
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chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting on a white plate

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 15 whoopie pies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sweet, salty, and rich, these chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel frosting satisfy all your dessert cravings!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 6 Tablespoons (32g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar
  • 56 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (240-300g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (highly recommended for best nonstick cookie baking surface!). Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla on high speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to combine.
  4. On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add half of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk until everything is added. Beat on medium speed until combined. It will be a thick, tacky, and sticky cake batter.
  5. Scoop mounds of batter, about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheets– about 3 inches apart.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Mine usually take 11 minutes. Allow to cool completely before sandwiching. Make the frosting as they cool.
  7. Make the frosting: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 2-3 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds. Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. With a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Slowly add 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Add 1 more Tablespoon heavy cream if you find the frosting too thick. (Or more if it’s much too thick!)
  8. Pair the cookies up based on their size. Spread the frosting onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Repeat with remaining. Cover leftover whoopie pies and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the batter, cover it tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Let it come to room temperature and bake as directed. You can freeze the baked whoopie pies for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually. Before enjoying, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Rainbow WhiskCookie Scoop | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is best for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the whoopie pies won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  4. Heavy Cream: Required for the caramel! There are no subs that will achieve the same texture and taste in this frosting. Here are all my recipes using heavy cream if you have leftover.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

If you love salted caramel, try my salted caramel turtle brownies!

overhead image of salted caramel turtle brownies with a pecan on top of each brownie square

30 Comments

  1. Tracy Groot says:

    Made them yesterday! Oh my yum! I added a pinch more salt to the frosting (because I’m a salt freak), and my son’s friend said, “Wow, this is the first salted caramel ANYTHING that I’ve tried and liked.” I think he more than liked them–he ate three. 🙂  Thanks again, Sally, for sending me to my kitchen so I can please a lot of palettes! 

  2. Made these last night for my whoopie-pie loving Mennonite fiance and they were a hit!
    Love your recipes!!

  3. We had these for dessert tonight and DANG! They are delicious! My cakes turned out pretty flat – I think my baking soda is old. But no matter, we loved them!

  4. Audrey Harmon says:

    Together with the caramel frosting, they taste smooth and creamy. Definitely pleasant. The whoopie pies are just a little thin. However, they are still pillowy and moist. So no complaints. Yours are just thicker and prettier.

  5. I just made these. However, mine were very light in color. Taste great but not dark at all. Also, my batter was more mousse like as well.

  6. I made these to share at my office last week and they were a HUGE hit!! My boss said they are my “secret weapon” – and I intend to use that to my benefit! 🙂 A few things I took note of…. when Sally says “use a heat proof bowl” for the caramel component, while it is cooling, use a heat proof bowl. What I found was the caramel, because it remained hot in the glass bowl (only bowl left after an all day baking spree), it continued to cook and became crystallized. I was able to “whip” most of that to creamy again with the heavy cream, but it could have been avoided if I had followed directions. Another lesson learned (though I already KNEW this would cause an issue)…. My computer was giving me issues and the recipe kept disappearing… so, what I thought was 1/2 stick of butter (for the batter) was really 1/2 cup = 1 whole stick. I didn’t realize that until I was getting the butter melted for the caramel… so I whipped up the remaining 1/2 stick and tried to incorporate it into the batter, knowing darn well it was going to change the way they baked since it wasn’t mixed with the sugar. The cookies baked just a TAD flatter, but other than that, everything went as stated and they were delish! Thanks for sharing this amazing concoction of chocolate meeting salted caramel, which is HEAVEN in my book!

  7. Hi Sally! My caramel frosting was a little gritty (although delicious!). This was my first time attempting caramel…what did I do wrong that would have caused the grainyness? Thanks!

  8. Just made these today. All went well and they taste very good! One thing though. My end product does not look like the pic. My cookies spread out a lot where as your’s have some height to them. I prefer the look of your whoopie  pies. Can you advise me on what may of  happened. Thanks. 

  9. My caramel sauce was gritty, do you know what would have caused that?

  10. Just finished baking these 🙂 Once again awesome Sally. Somewhat of a happy accident, but maybe to address other comments that said their cookies were flat: I baked my cookies in three batches, and stuck the batter in the refrigerator while the first and second batches baked. Maybe this goes along with other cookie recipes where you advise to chill the dough to help prevent spreading (or this may be completely wrong with this one, just a guess!) But my second and third batches were cooked with batter straight from the fridge and they had increasingly less spreading & more volume with each bake. My third bake looks very similar to the look of yours! (Baking victory!)

  11. These are amazing! I made them for a friends Birthday as she loves the whole cookie/brownie phase that’s happening everywhere! 
    I was worried they were a bit too cakey and not cookie enough when they came out of the oven, but I tried one this morning with the filling and it was a little chewy a delicious!!
    I also added a bit more salt to my caramel while I whipped it to get a bit more balance of sweet and salty!! 
    Thanks so much!!! 🙂 

  12. Hi Sally! I made these for Thanksgiving. Mine came out runny so I put them in the fridge overnight. Not sure why but I am suspecting that I had a very light touch to spooning the flour into my measuring cups.  They baked nice but not exactly like yours with the mound in the middle. But they did come out thick and the flavor was spot on. I made them with your creamy peanut butter frosting and they were a huge hit!  Thank you for the recipe Sally!

  13. I just made these. Like some of the other comments, my frosting was also lighter in color and gritty. It could have been the bowl I used to cool. I actually found it to be sugar overload. The frosting was too sweet for me and I love all things sweet! I will have to try again. Maybe the red velvet ones next time. 

  14. I made these for a family cookout. Followed the recipe exactly and they came out great. They were rounded, just like the photos, and tasted SO good. Everyone loved them! This ones definitely a keeper. Thanks Sally for a great recipe!

  15. Hi Sally! Going to make these today! Would whipping cream work as opposed to heavy cream?

    1. Hi Kristen! Do you mean heavy whipping cream? HWC and heavy cream are basically the same thing, actually! You can use them interchangeably.

  16. Mine also came out thin and lighter in color. Still delicious, but not like a traditional whoopee pie. I made them with peanut butter frosting instead because I had some extra. Very tasty!

  17. These are so yummy! My husband asked for whoopie pies for his birthday and being who I am (and secretly being disappointed that he didn’t want a cake), I couldn’t do just plain old whoopie pies, so I headed straight here for a more exciting recipe! The frosting is to die for. Mine came out a little gritty, but I actually kind of like the texture. The flavor is amazing. My pies weren’t super fluffy, but they look great assembled. Most importantly, my husband loved them! Yum!!

  18. To give these a Thanksgiving flare, I piped a chocolate buttercream circle and filled it with Sally’s maple pecan pie filling. A cholcolate pecan whoopie pie. AMAZING. Thanks Sally!

  19. Hi Sally,

    We love these whoopie pies so much that we make them every weekend! I have a question is there anyway this cake for the whoopie pies can be made into a layer cake?

    1. Hi Lee! I honestly haven’t tried it! I recommend sticking with my chocolate cake recipe. It’s been my favorite for nearly 7 years!

  20. This is a keeper. The cake part of the whoopie pie was excellent and easy to make. As several others have commented, the salted caramel came out very gritty (from more reading, it seems like caramel really needs to be made using a candy thermometer and more detailed technique). I also, thought the frosting was too heavy on sugar. I’d make again with a lighter frosting.

  21. Several people noted gritty caramel frosting/filling. Mine crystallized as well. Taste was great, but will look for a different filling next time. Do you have a more traditional filling recipe that might work?

    1. Hi Kathy, you may enjoy my vanilla buttercream instead. Always wonderful with cake-like chocolate cookies.

  22. I’ve made these before and absolutely loved them. One of the best things I’ve ever baked. Right now unfortunately heavy cream goes beyond my grocery budget. Is there a different frosting you’d recommend here that’s more forgiving and could take milk or buttermilk instead of cream?

    1. Hi Jess! Try this peanut butter frosting. It calls for heavy cream, but you can use whole milk instead. You can browse all of my frosting recipes if it would be helpful as well.

  23. My frosting came out gritty as well. I read and followed all of the notes and even tried the hot caramel as I went to make sure the sugar was dissolving. Once cooled for 30 minutes it was so gritty. The flavor was also much too sweet. It gave my husband and I instant belly aches and I used the minimum sifted powdered sugar. I packed the cookies up and will try a different frosting tomorrow. I tried so hard to make this frosting not grainy!

  24. I’m giving 5 stars because I made the cookies to put some chocolate ganache and chocolate Italian buttercream, and they were delicious!! Sally, can these cookies be made vanilla instead of chocolate?? Thanks in advance!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Reba! A vanilla whoopie pie recipe would take additional testing. Let us know if you try anything! You may love one of our other whoopie pies like these Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies as well.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I made these with gluten free flour + xantham gum, so I was crossing my fingers that they would turn out good, and they were amazing!!! Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂

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