Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

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.

Print
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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
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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

58 Comments

  1. Hey, this recipe sounds amazing. I have a question, however. Does the caramel inside stay soft after baking? Or does it harden once the cookies cool? I was thinking of making these for an event but I usually do all my baking the day/night before because there just isn’t enough time the day of:/

    1. Hi Madeleine! The caramel is soft and gooey when the cookies are warm. It’s still slightly gooey after a few days kept at room tempterature. It doesn’t get super hard at all. Let me know how you like them!

  2. Made these and LOVE them. They are wonderful. Just wondering if anyone has tried making a smaller version of these cookies using the new mini rolo’s ?

    1. Hey Heather! I’ve tried them with mini rolos. They are fantastic. Cut the dough ball size in half if using though.

  3. Hi Sally! I just wanted to tell you how delish these cookies are!! I made them for a cookie exchange and they won!! So, thanks to you for the awesome recipe!!

  4. Hey Sally, do you think this recipe would work well as a giant cookie cake too? Just wondering if I’d still need to chill the dough or not? I am pretty new to your blog but EVERY recipe, without fail has been foolproof! I’m referring everyone I know who eats my bakes, to where the recipes come from!

    1. Hey Amanda! Yep, this recipe could definitely work as a cookie cake. No need to chill the dough, just press into the 9-inch pan with a spatula (it will be quite sticky). Around 25-28 minute bake time.

  5. Can I use diff caramel candies like Werther’s original?

    1. Those would be fine, though they may slightly ooze out of the bottom of the cookie. The chocolate coating on the rolls helps prevent any caramel from escaping. (Though sometimes it smell does!)

  6. Hey Sally! Can I replace the dark chocolate morsels with normal chocolate chips? This recipe looks decadent I can’t wait to try it!!

    1. That would be fine.

  7. I made these and they turned out so good, especially when warm. So tasty reheated in the microwave for a seconds.

  8. I love these cookies!! Dark chocolate, caramel and sea salt together can not go wrong! I have make them several times now and can’t wait to make them again and again!

  9. Sally, 
    Two questions 1. Does this dough freeze well? 2. If I do freeze it should I freeze with the caramels inside or wait until I take them out to bake to add the caramels?

    1. Freezes well, yes! Up to 3 months. To ensure the caramel is nice and gooey, add the caramels after freezing and thawing the dough.

  10. Hi Sally,

    Can these cookies be made ahead and frozen? They look great!

    1. Yes, absolutely! Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

  11. Hi Sally. Have you ever made these cookies with dark cocoa powder?

    1. I have, yes! I’ve used Hershey’s Special Dark. They’re wonderful.

  12. I’ve made this recipe several times already, they come out perfect every time!!  Everyone LOVES them!!  They are so good thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!!  

  13. Would caramel chews work in place of Rolos, or does the caramel need to be coated?

    1. Chewy caramel candies will work, yes.

  14. Hi! I haven’t made this recipe yet but I had a question before I do! Chances are, I will probably want to freeze these cookies after baking them. Does this mess up the cookie/rolo center once the baked cookie has been frozen then thawed? Or will The caramel be soft again?  Thanks 🙂 

    1. Hi Kasey! The caramel will thaw and soften, but it won’t be as gooey as it is when the cookies are fresh-baked.

  15. Have you tried making these as bars in a 9X9 pan?

    1. I haven’t! But a 9×9 inch pan should be the perfect size. Let me know how they turn out!

  16. Can I chill dough overnight?

    1. You sure can! See the Make ahead tip at the end of the recipe!

  17. Definitely the most requested recipe my friends ask for — absolutely! I love sending friends to your site and knowing they can trust your recipes. You’re the cookie queen!

  18. I’m having trouble finding rolos. Could I use regular wrapped caramels?

    1. Absolutely! Make sure the caramels are soft.

  19. Can I freeze these once I have formed the stuffed cookie ball portion and bake when needed?

    1. Absolutely! See the recipe notes for details.

  20. Hey Sally! I love these cookies. I was wondering if I could wrap mini Resee’s in the dough instead of the Rolos with success? Not sure why it wouldn’t but wanted to see if you’ve tried it or seen it done. I don’t want it to get all goopy and stuff.

    1. You sure can, Lydia! You can see how I use them in these cookies!

  21. These turned out amazing. I never write reviews, but these were easy and something different.

  22. These are fantastic cookies!!! I made them for a cookie exchange today and my husband didn’t want me to share them (never happens). I loved two things about these cookies—the dark chocolate cookies and caramel taste so amazing, and just as good for me was they looked just like Sally’s picture. I often make cookies but they rarely look just as good as the recipe pictures (even if they taste great). Well, these are sooo good! Thanks, Sally, I can see why these won you a grand prize award! I’ve been waiting to try these since I got your cookbook with them and today was the day!

  23. Can I use dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe?

    1. HI Pailin, This recipe uses baking soda, which means we want to stick with natural cocoa powder and NOT dutch processed. You can read all about the science behind why to help you understand the difference in my baking basics post Dutch-process Vs Natural Cocoa Powder.

  24. Oh my gosh. These cookies are amazing!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  25. These are outstanding!!! I really was expecting the caramel to bust out of the cookie and make a total mess but it didn’t at all, and the cooled the cookies held together marvelously. And they’re SO DELICIOUS.

  26. Never left reviews on any of your recipes before so I’m going to do that now. I first started using your recipes in 2011 I want to say, and I have followed religiously since. These cookies are my favorite cookies of all time and I think about them constantly. I have never had every single recipe created by one person come out flawlessly every time but they always do with yours!

  27. Pern Krider says:

    Hi Sally, I’ve been looking for a double chocolate caramel pecan cookie recipe. This one looks really close. Can I add some chopped pecans? Would I need to alter anything else? I am new to baking! Thanks!

    1. Hi Pern, I recommend replacing half of the dark chocolate chips with chopped pecans for a total of 1 and a half cups of add-ins. Enjoy!

  28. Can I use kraft square caramels?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can! Make sure they are very soft to begin with. If they’re old or on the harder side, they won’t soften in the oven. We like Kraft or Brach’s brand caramel squares.

  29. Hi Sally,

    Can I use milk duds? I can’t find rolos in my location

    1. Hi Joyce, you can, but they won’t have a gooey caramel center like Rolo candies. They may turn pretty hard after baking inside a cookie, too. Mini snickers bars are a fun alternative if you want to try that!

  30. These are by far my favorite cookies! Even better than inside out’s and better than the regular chocolate chip cookies! It was easy and fun to make! I absolutely love the taste and I wouldn’t improve or change a thing, beautiful recipe!

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