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Decadent dark chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and topped with sea salt. Totally worth every bite!

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a yellow plate

When Nestlé Toll House approached me last month to be apart of their Dark Pinspirations SweepstakesI nearly fell off my chair! You see, today’s cookies were in a Nestle baking contest with some other great talent! If you like dark chocolate, you have to check out the other recipes in the contest.

Update: My cookies won the contest! Yep, the cookies you see here are worth $5,000 and won the Nestle Baking Contest. I can’t thank you all enough for voting! I call them my $5,000 cookies. 😉

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on silpat

Making them is so easy.

The chocolate cookie recipe is quite simple and standard. I use extra cocoa powder to make them even more fudgy. The more chocolate, the better. I stuff the cookies with chocolate coated caramel candies and Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels and top each of them with sea salt before throwing into the oven.

I love those Dark Chocolate Morsels and have been using them left and right in my recent recipes. I’ll link up to some dark chocolate recipes at the bottom of this post for you.

stack of salted caramel dark chocolate cookies with caramel in the middle

To make the chocolate cookies, start with some room temperature butter. Beat the butter in the mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer for about 20 seconds on medium speed before adding any sugar. This gets it nice and creamed. Add 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar. The brown sugar does not have to be packed and you may use light brown sugar instead. I prefer dark brown sugar because it has a richer, more robust flavor than light brown.

Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat the mixture and scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl with a spatula as needed. The wet ingredients are ready, so set them aside. Moving onto the dry ingredients…

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a silpat

I like to sift the dry ingredients together. Unsweetened cocoa powder can be quite lumpy and you don’t want any dry pockets of it in your cookies, so sifting it with the flour, baking soda, and salt just makes it easier to incorporate into the dough.

Once your dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add them slowly to the wet ingredients. I like to take a measuring cup and add about 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time with the mixer running on low. This allows the dry and wet to be mixed together easily and prevents a huge powdery explosion all over my kitchen!

Don’t forget the last two crucial ingredients. The cookie dough is quite thick, so you need *some* liquid to thin it out again. Use 2 Tablespoons of milk, no more! Any more will make your dough VERY sticky and unmanageable. Trust me, I’ve tried. After the milk is mixed in by hand, add the 1.5 cups of Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels. I like a lot of morsels in every bite.

Chill the dough for at least 1-2 hours. Two hours is preferred. The longer you chill the dough, the less sticky it will be – making it much easier to handle in the next step. I even chill mine for 4 hours when I have the time.

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel

Now comes the fun part! Grab 18 chocolate coated caramel candies or regular soft caramel candies (I prefer to use Rolos). Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half. Roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball, sort of like a cradle. I have a picture of how I do this in this similar cookie recipe. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside.

Top the cookie with a sprinkle of sea salt. I love salty sweet cookies! Chocolate, caramel, and salt are a winning combination and taste remarkable in this thick, soft cookie recipe.

Now it’s time to bake. About 12-13 minutes in the oven. The chocolate cookies are rather large and they will appear undone and very soft when you remove them from the oven. That is OK, I promise. The cookies will continue to bake as they cool on the cookie sheet.

I always slightly underbake cookies so that they remain soft. These chocolate cookies keep beautifully, and even get even softer on day 2. And remained soft for 7 whole days. They only lasted that long because I forgot about one lonesome cookie in my cookie jar. 😉

Just wait until you try one fresh out of the oven!

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a teal plate

Now let’s look at the selling points here:

  • Caramel oozing everywhere.
  • Melty dark chocolate.
  • Fudge brownie-like interior.
  • Sea salt on top to accentuate the sweetness.
  • Heavenly!

Thick cookies, chewy exterior, soft-baked consistency. All of my cookie requirements! I know you are going to love these chocolate cookies. And they are surprisingly easy to make.

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stack of dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel with caramel showing

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16-18 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Decadent dark chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and topped with sea salt. Totally worth every bite!


  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2/3 cup (55g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 1617 chocolate coated caramels, such as Rolos
  • coarse sea salt


  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for about 20 seconds. Add the sugars with the mixer running on medium speed. Cream it all together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Stir in the milk, then fold in the dark chocolate morsels. The dough will be thick and very sticky. Chill for at least 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half and roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball of dough. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside. Repeat with the rest of the dough and 18 caramel candies. Sprinkle each with sea salt before putting into the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: caramel chocolate cookies, salted caramel dark chocolate cookies

collage of 3 salted caramel dark chocolate cookies images

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These cookies were AMAZING! Everyone raved about them!
    The key is to not over bake them. This is a keeper! Thank you Sally!

    1. Hi Debbie, although we haven’t tested it ourselves, you could try using a plant-based butter and plant-based milk in place of the dairy versions called for. Let us know what you try!

  2. This recipe was awful. I’m so sorry to leave a negative review, but it puzzles me how Nestle payed 5,000€ for them. I did everything the recipe told me to do: creamed together butter and sugar; used half brown sugar, half white; chilled the dough; sifted the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder; I even used rolos like Sally said. I don’t know what went wrong! Baked them for 13 mins at designated temperature and they were SUPER soft. It felt like they had been baked for 5 minutes. I left them to cool but after 10 mins they still stayed very soft. 20 minutes? Still very soft, almost like they were undercooked. We ate them, and here’s the verdict: the rolos didn’t’t melt so the middle was weird and chunky and the texture was kind of sandy. The flavour wasn’t mind blowing, and even a bit of delicious homemade caramel sauce on top of these didn’t save them. It was my daughter’s birthday, and salted caramel + chocolate is one of her favourite combinations. I was so sad to disappoint her. I’m so sorry to leave a bad review, as I do adore your site, Sally. Just that this recipe really wasn’t my jam. Sorry.
    Xoxo Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline, thank you so much for the feedback. I wonder if the Rolo candies you used were particularly old? Because if they’re hard or crumbly, they won’t melt down or soften up as the cookies bake. Did you by chance make the cookies larger than the recipe states? If so, they would need a little longer in the oven. Regardless, thank you for the feedback.

      1. No, I bought the packet of rolos from the newsagent’s shop the day before especially to make the recipe. I don’t usually have them around my house – otherwise the kids (and my wife) would eat them. I did what the recipe told me to do for the size: two tablespoons of cookie dough, split in half, stuff the rolo inside and create a ball. It’s ok, not every recipe you write can be perfect. Thank you.
        My daughter says: « Thank you Sally for all your yummy recipes that mummy cooks for us. I am sad the cookies weren’t nice but otherwise your recipes are very good. » thanks very much Sally.

  3. I’ve made these twice now and for sure they are THE MOST AMAZING COOKIES EVER. My favorite of all of Sally’s cookies and of all cookies ever. It is a MUST to have them warm. If not fresh out of the oven, put in microwave for a few seconds. And a MUST to have with a glass of milk. All that being said, I do have a suggestion to make them even better! Replace 1/2 of the chocolate chips with PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS. You will not regret this decision! Chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter. All gooey. What could be better?

  4. Do you think a riesen chocolate caramel would work for the caramel? They’re rather chewy- way more than a rolo, but I love them better than rolos.

    1. Hi Stephannie! I’m not familiar with those caramels but as long as they’re not too thick to easily bite though they should be ok!

  5. Wondering if I could use Dulce de Leche in this recipe. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use since it the only requirement is opening a can. I try to use it in any recipe calling for caramel. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. By the way, I am constantly visiting your website for any baking need. However, this Christmas it’s been a life saver. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Gail, we haven’t tested it ourselves so we can’t be certain of how it would work. But let us know if you try it! And we’re so glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the site for all your Christmas cookies — happy baking to you!

  6. Hi, Sally!

    I made these cookies for the first time today. Everything went well until I took them off the cookie sheet and put them on a wire rack to cool; I didn’t notice it at first, but the caramel started coming out the bottoms of the cookies!!

    I let them sit for five minutes before I tried moving them, so I’m not entirely sure what went wrong. I used soft salted caramels from Target. Do you think they were too large, maybe? Should I have cut the caramels in half?

    I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure they’ll still taste great.


    1. Hi Erica! The caramel should be completely surrounded by the chocolate cookie dough to prevent it from spilling out. Make sure there’s no caramel peeking out before you bake the cookies! Smaller chunks of caramel would definitely help for next time. Hope you love them!

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