Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Super soft-baked chocolate chip cookies with salted caramel and pecans. One of the best chocolate chip cookies of all time!

salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies

Perhaps it’s the memories of my childhood milk and cookie snack time or my never-ending love for a classic chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it’s the unparalleled and addictive smell wafting from the kitchen as they bake or the endless add-ins you can throw into a cookie dough.

I’m in love with baking cookies, especially this time of year.

salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies on a red plate

How to Make Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

The dough for today’s cookies is the same dough as my Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cornstarch, my secret weapon in cookie recipes, makes a silent appearance yet again. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, I swear by cornstarch in my chocolate chip cookies!

  • Adding cornstarch to your cookie dough will produce softer-than-ever cookies! It doesn’t impact the flavor at all. One bite of your tender cookie and you’ll wonder why you haven’t added cornstarch to your chocolate chip cookies this whole time.

salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies on a round cooling rack

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I added a little something salty and sweet to my sweet chocolate chip cookies the other day: a sprinkle of sea salt, a bit of caramel, some delicious pecans. Just like your favorite turtle candy! My mom and I always shared a small bag of turtles during Christmas. Biting into one always brings me back home, and I wanted to capture that same nostalgia in today’s cookie.

You’re going to overload the chocolate chip cookies, super-chunk style. I used store-bought caramel squares, salted pecans, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a generous sprinkle of sea salt on top.

  • Important tip: do not add the caramels to the cookie dough. Rather, cut the caramels into 4 pieces and stick them into the tops of your cookie dough balls before baking. Doing so will prevent caramel from burning into a burnt caramel river all over your cookie sheet.

Sure enough to be one of your favorite cookies this holiday season, these overstuffed, super-chunky, double-chewy, soft-baked cookies will please anyone and everyone. I mean, who can pass up a cookie? Especially a cookie looking this good?!

Caramel chocolate chip cookie dough ball on a baking sheet before baking

salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies on a red plate

Why Chill Cookie Dough?

  1. The colder the dough, the less the cookies are likely to over-spread into greasy puddles. You’ll have thicker, sturdier, and more solid cookies.
  2. Chilling cookie dough ensures a heightened flavor as well. All the flavors in your cookie recipe will get friendly with one another during the chill time. Whenever I make cookies, I try to plan ahead and chill the cookie dough overnight.

After chilling, let your cookie dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes (or more, depending on how long the dough has chilled) before rolling into balls and baking. Your cookie dough may be a solid rock, so letting it slightly loosen up helps. The dough will still be much more solid than it was pre-chilling.

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salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You won’t get enough of these irresistible salted chocolate chip cookies with gooey caramel and pecans!


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (71g) chopped unsalted or salted pecans
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick. Add the chocolate chips and pecans, then mix until evenly distributed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 4 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough so the cookies don’t over-spread.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. The cookie dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together as you roll into individual balls with your hands. Roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, and arrange 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies and sprinkle each with sea salt.
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. The centers will look soft.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 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 4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 3. 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. Pecans: I used salted raw pecans. You can use unsalted, roasted, and/or whichever pecans you love most.
  3. Tip: Do not place dough onto warm cookie sheets; allow sheets to cool between batches.
  4. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies, salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies

31 Comments

  1. I made these cookies on a Saturday and they were gone Sunday morning! BEST cookie recipe I’ve ever come across, thank you!

  2. Hi Sally, have you ever put these cookies in the freezer to save for later? I can never eat as many cookies as I bake, so that’s what I usually do. I’m not sure how the caramel would hold up in the freezer. What do you think?

    1. Yep – they are good frozen up to 2-3 months.

  3. I’m curious why this recipe doesn’t have an extra egg yolk like your other chocolate chip cookie one?

    1. The recipes are completely different 🙂 These are much softer, the others are chewier, these use softened butter (as opposed to melted) and the ratios of ingredients are slightly different. Let me know if you try them!

  4. I just finished baking these delicious cookies! Seriously, they are amazing. So glad I doubled the recipe. Friday night’s are always homemade pizza night at our house. These cookies are going to be a great dessert.

  5. What kind of caramels did you use in these, Kraft caramels or Werthers? I thought the flavor might be better with Werthers, but I wasn’t sure if they were too soft.

    1. I use (and recommend) Kraft caramel squares for these.

  6. How did you get your caramels to not melt? I pressed mine into the top just like you said but they were much melting than yours looks!

    1. Hmm. Did you use Kraft brand caramels? They hold their shape a little better than other brands. You can also try the Kraft baking bits (the little balls).

  7. Nummy nummy!

    Sally, have you ever tried using your homemade caramels instead of store bought? Wondering if they would be too soft to begin with?

    1. Hi June! You can use the homemade caramels, but they are SUPER soft and will easily lose their shape. I definitely recommend store-bought. They’re a little firmer and hold up to the oven’s heat a little better.

  8. Love your website!! Question: my kraft caramels seem a bit hard, will they soften up and stay soft after baking. I don’t want hard caramel chunks. Thanks!

    1. Hi Dee! They actually won’t soften much in the oven– is the package old? Can you purchase a new package with softer caramels?

  9. Joyce Previte says:

    my husband loves these. For me, I cut the caramels into sort of bits. Before I had smaller pieces I made the mistake of pushing the caramels way into the cookie which caused them to stick to cooling rack. Amen to having chilled dough. Thanks for all your tips and this recipe is a do-over!!!

  10. I made the dough of these cookies today! I froze them so then on Christmas I can bake them for our party and they will taste like you just make them! Freezing the desserts has been a total life saver this year! Thank you so much Sally for your amazing recipes! I cant wait for Christmas so I can try these cookies! Happy Holidays!!!! 😀

  11. Thank you Sally! This recipe is wonderful. When I shopped for the ingredients the stores didn’t have kraft carmels in stock but they did have the NEW Ghiradelli carmel chips! I used 3/4 C to make up for the (16) carmel pieces. I mixed all of the chips in together and they baked beautifully. My family and friends went WILD for these cookies 😀
    Your pro-tips about the corn starch and bread to soften the cookies – WOW!
    I’m a new fan and follower, thanks for all you do! <3

  12. I just tried this recipe for the first time and had the same issue with the caramels meting too much (used Kraft and followed recipe). I’m going to try adding them to the top after taking them out but thought I would check in to see if Sally has another suggestion.

    1. Hi Tara! That will definitely help– add little pieces of the caramel on top of the warm cookies right as they come out of the oven.

  13. One of my all time FAVORITE recipes! For all those that are struggling with the caramels melting, I had the same problem and had even made sure to use the Kraft caramels and for some reason my oven was just not cooperating. To combat this issue, after cutting the caramel squares into 4 pieces I put them in a bowl in the freezer while I rolled the dough into balls and then added in the frozen caramel pieces right before I put the cookies in the oven and it worked perfectly! No more melty caramel mess just a slow soft spread over the top of the cookie 🙂 I can wait to try even more recipes and I know my family is excited too!

  14. These are incredibly easy and delicious! I used the Trader Joe’s fleur de sel caramels and cut them into very small pieces. They do still melt but I used someone else’s idea of putting the small pieces into the freezer to harden. I also found that immediately after I take the tray out of the oven the melted caramel is still soft enough that I can use a spoon to quickly squish it back against the side of the cookie. Nobody could tell that any melting happened at all!

  15. Hi,
    Do you think it would be possible to bake these as cookie bars? And If so, can you recommend pan size, baking time, temp etc.
    Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! I recommend a 9-inch square baking pan. The bars will be thick. Bake at the same oven temperature, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time. It will be close to my chocolate chip cookie bars recipe.

  16. Gwenivere Fuller says:

    I was wondering about subbing caramels with the bits myself, going to try for a wedding reception this weekend. Recipes are always SPLENDID. I get rave reviews for all of Sally’s cookies, and I always have to correct people-they’re not my recipes, they’re from this blog! Lol

  17. Can you use the Carmel baking chips instead? Also what if you want to leave the nuts out? Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terry, You can use caramel chips right in the dough, as they are more stable (like chocolate chip). Feel free to leave out the nuts or simply replace the nuts with your caramel chips. Happy baking!

  18. Hey Sally. I was wondering if I wanted to use 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie, what temperature would I need for the oven, and how long would it take?

    1. Hi Kamryn, the oven temperature would be the same, but you could certainly reduce it to 325°F (163°C) to help ensure the cookies bake more evenly. Bake for at least 13-14 minutes or until the edges have set.

  19. Hi Sally! These cookies look amazing!! One question for freezing the cookie dough (It’s so handy when you don’t want to cook the whole batch right away!-)- should I freeze it without the Caramel pieces stuck on top, or with them? I think if I freeze them without the caramels you can’t add them later when you put the frozen dough balls in oven, but does the caramel freeze OK?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beatriz, That’s a great question! You are right, it would be difficult to add the caramel pieces after the dough balls are frozen, but you can add them prior to freezing. They should still bake just fine. Or if you don’t want to risk it, baked cookies freeze well also.

  20. Linda Sturtevant says:

    Made these cookies today. After reading the reviews I placed the caramel pieces on top right after baking along with the sea salt. They came out great. Love your recipes and so do my co-workers. They test them out for me!

    Linda Sturtevant R.I.

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