Soft Caramel Snickerdoodles

stack of caramel snickerdoodle cookies with one broken in half showing the caramel inside

Happy mid-week everyone! As we close yet another summer month and welcome the (hopefully) cooler weather in September, let’s get in our kitchen and bake some cookies. Rightthissecond.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for months! So do you remember when I told you how grateful I am for the blogging community? Well here’s a recipe from another dear friend’s cookbook. Jamielyn Nye from I Heart Naptime is launching her new cookbook, The I Heart Naptime Cookbook, in just 1 week. I was lucky enough to preview it earlier in the year, but am so excited (1) that it’s finally here and (2) to show you why you need this cookbook in your kitchen.

overhead image of caramel snickerdoodle cookies

Just as she does on her beautiful blog, Jamielyn shares expert tips, exciting crafts, gorgeous photography, and over 100 family-friendly, approachable, and quick recipes in her new cookbook. Each recipe can be made in less than 1 hour, which should seal the deal already. I mentioned this on the back cover of the book, but this is seriously the type of cookbook that will consistently inspire you. Also: the bright colors on each page will make you very happy. Win.

Let me share one of the recipes from her cookbook. I’ve actually made caramel snickerdoodles before and posted the recipe on my blog too. Can I admit that I like Jamielyn’s version better than my own? Her’s are sooooooo soft. Slightly chewy with lots of flavor. When I flipped the page, I suddenly craved cinnamon and caramel for dinner and was tempted to throw on a big chunky sweater and pretend it’s Fall. And totally would’ve done both if I didn’t already have salmon in the oven (damn you salmon!) and it wasn’t a sauna outside. But I did make the cookies regardless! And they rival any snickerdoodle my cookie sheets have ever seen.

I Heart Naptime cookbook by Jamielyn Nye

So naturally, I had to share these caramel cinnamon angels with you.

snickerdoodle cookie dough in a glass stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment

Check out that cookie dough. Look how soft it is!

The ingredients are quite standard for snickerdoodles, but it’s the ratio that makes these snickerdoodles so utterly dreamy. Lots of butter, brown sugar for a little flavor, white sugar, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla… the cookie gang’s all here. All super basic ingredients. Don’t forget that cream of tartar though; it imparts the signature tang as well as the chew in snickerdoodle cookies. Ever notice that snickerdoodles and sugar cookies each have the same ingredients, but snickerdoodles are much chewier with a pillowy texture? It’s the cream of tartar. I found this article super interesting if you’re bored.

Also important: CARAMELS. ♥ ♥

soft caramel candies

2 images of snickerdoodle cookie dough with a caramel candy stuck inside and covered up with more dough and cookie dough balls on a silpat baking mat

I have a special request. Use very soft caramels in these soft caramel snickerdoodles. I’ve had trouble baking cookies like this in the past– the hard caramel dilemma I call it. If your caramels are pretty hard when you stuff them into the cookie dough, the caramel will come out hard and won’t be all soft and gooey like you want it to be (the caramel goo is the best). This sounds very weird, but feel your caramels through the bag before you buy them/cut them for the cookies. Press on them, make sure they’re soft. You may look like a caramel lunatic in the candy aisle, but we are all right there with you. And I promise it’s worth the 10 second public weirdness.

To get the caramel inside the cookies, you’ll stuff them inside the cookie dough balls before baking. To do this, simply roll 2 small balls of dough. Stick half of a caramel inside, place the other ball on top and roll it all up to make a perfect circle. Then roll into cinnamon sugar. That’s all! The cookie will bake around the caramel, while the caramel will melt down inside.

stack of caramel snickerdoodle cookies with one broken in half showing the caramel inside

Jamielyn’s book will be released next week! You can order a copy on Amazon. When you get it, try her caramel frosted pumpkin cookies too. Doesn’t this make you so excited for Fall baking?!?!?

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stack of caramel snickerdoodle cookies with one broken in half showing the caramel inside

Soft Caramel Snickerdoodles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Soft caramel snickerdoodles with chewy edges and a sweet surprise inside.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 12 soft caramels, cut in half

Topping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour* and up to 3 days.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3-4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  6. Combine the topping ingredients. Set aside.
  7. Scoop a scant 2 Tablespoons of cookie dough. Break in half. Make a thumbprint into the bottom of one half and press a caramel half inside, as shown above. Place the other cookie dough half on top and roll the dough between your hands to make a smooth ball. Make sure the caramels are completely wrapped inside. Roll into cinnamon-sugar topping and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies.
  8. Bake the cookies in batches for 11-13 minutes, or until very lightly browned and crisp looking on the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. 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 5. I suggest freezing the cookie dough as a whole (for up to 3 months), then thawing overnight in the refrigerator before rolling/shaping. The caramels do not freeze very well.
  2. Special Tools: Silpat Baking Mat | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Flex Edge Beater | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Bowl | Caramels
  3. Chilled Dough: Jamielyn does not chill her cookie dough, but I always run into issues with cookie dough spreading! So I chilled mine for 1 hour. The cookies were thick and soft.
  4. Check out my top 5 cookie tips before beginning. It includes how to prevent cookies from over-spreading and why room temperature makes a difference.
  5. Excerpted from The I Heart Naptime Cookbook: More Than 100 Easy & Delicious Recipes to Make in Less Than One Hour by Jamielyn Nye. Reprinted with permission from author and publishing company.

Keywords: soft caramel snickerdoodles, caramel snickerdoodles

37 Comments

  1. Hi Sally!

    I attempted to make these wonderful cookies today and refrigerated them covered with foil for one hour. After the hour, i pulled them out and starting rolling them and popped them in the over. I found that they spread a lot. They still tasted amazing! but were stuck together. Anything you can recommend I do in the future when making these? Thank you!

    1. Hi Karen, your best bet is to chill the cookie dough for even longer. Super firm and chilled dough is best. You can even chill for 1 hour, assemble/roll the cookies, then chill for an additional 2 hours. This will help reduce the spread.

  2. I made these today…. soooo good! My Mom gave me a hard time cause I sent her a pic and since she looooves caramel she wasn’t happy she couldn’t have any, she lives in GA I’m in OH. So I shipped her a batch overnight so she will get them tomorrow. 

  3. I have made these 4 times already. They are a favourite at work and home. I would recommend getting a higher quality caramel then the kraft ones. Kraft were good but when I found some nice British ones it upped the quality of the cookies. Thanks so much Sally. 

  4.  I made these tonight and they came out perfect. Softand puffy.  Wasn’t sure if I would like the combination of flavors but it was amazing! I love your recipes!

  5. I love cinnamon and caramel, but wasn’t wowed over with these cookies given that there is some effort involved with chilling, forming, etc. Just so-so.

  6. Chelsea Timmons says:

    Omg! These came out so good. They were thick and chewy. I didn’t have a problem spread. I chilled my dough for about 45 min, rolled out balls of dough and stuffed them and let them chill a bit more before the cinnamon and sugar coating. I did have one simple hiccup. I transferred the 1st batch to a wire cooling rack too soon. The caramel broke through the bottom of the cookie. By the time I noticed I had a stalactite of caramel hanging down.

  7. carol mitchell says:

    Can these be made with caramel dip?

    1. It’s much too liquid-y, I do not recommend.

  8. These are really delicious cookies but I have a question about why the caramel sometimes falls through the bottom of the cookie, melts onto the tray and leaves a hole in the cookie? I have made them a few times and sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t and I don’t think I’m doing anything differently between batches.

    Any help would be much appreciated 🙂

  9. Hi Sally,

    Is it possible to substitute the caramel candies with your homemade salted caramel recipe somehow?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Anna! Unfortunately not. The salted caramel will ooze and spill out of the cookies– it’s just not the best consistency for baking inside cookies. If desired, you can try my homemade caramel candies instead.

  10. What’s the difference in cookie type between this one and the caramel snickerdoodle surprise? We like a chewy (not too soft and cakey), dense, crisp on the outside cookie. Which recipe of the two should I follow?

    1. These are chewier so I recommend this recipe! Enjoy!

  11. Hi Sally, I have some leftover cookie dough from your snickerdoodle recipe. Can I use that cookie dough to make snickerdoodle caramel cookies? Or do I have to follow this recipe to use the caramels? I hope you reply! I’m making these for my MIL 😐

    1. Hi Rose, You should be able to use that cookie dough with the caramels. Enjoy!

  12. Do you know if the baked cookies will freeze well? I’m hoping to make a batch and freeze to take on a trip. I’ll be short on time before we leave and didn’t want to deal with baking just prior. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tara, I freeze baked snickerdoodles without the caramel center often. I find that the caramel in the center of these cookies doesn’t freeze well.

  13. Dang it Sally. I just stuffed these with Nutella. They’re ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
    I halved the recipe and made 5 huge cookies. I double rolled in cinnamon and sugar and then put a fat pinch of the cinnamon sugar on the top of the cookie. This might be the best contribution I’ve ever made to the world.

  14. Hi Sally. A batch of these cookies are in the oven as I type this lol. The first batch was such a flop. When i scooped it up from the baking tray it broke. I then thought i maybe used too little dough so then i added more and the second batch was better, its holding and looks good. However, the cookies are spreading so much that the caramel is seeping out from under the cookie. What did i do wrong?

  15. This is my fav snickerdoodle recipe. I don’t use caramel, just make plain snickerdoodles.
    I’ve tried probably 30 other recipes and this one is by far my favorite.

  16. Is it possible to use gluten free flour to make these? They look incredible!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi MG, We haven’t tested these with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it.

  17. These look amazing!
    I need to make around 48 cookies, should I just double the recipe? I don’t want to mess up the recipe by messing with the measurements too much.

    Thanks!

  18. Hi Sally! I don’t have any cream of tartar on hand… Can I substitute it with 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder (bringing the total baking power for this recipe to 2.5 tsp)?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Megan, you can simply omit the cream of tartar with no other changes needed. Enjoy!

  19. Just made these- we LOVE them!

  20. Sally, literally could not believe the reaction at work when I brought these in! They were devoured! People could not stop raving about them. Thank you! They were gone quickly!

  21. Jacqueline says:

    Unfortunately not a great recipe. I love some of your recipes suchs as the creamcheese poundcake (never fails), but this one was a waste of ingredients. Cookies went flat with caramel stuck under the cookies. Followed the recipe exactly, carefully weighing the ingredients. After reading some of the comments I chilled the dough 2 hours before rolling them in balls, chilled them another 2 hours before baking them. Flat cookie sticking together. Tried baking them 13 minutes, tried 11 minutes, result stayed the same.

  22. I finally made these, in a way, after I had been putting them off for months. I used your soft and thick snickerdoodle cookie recipe because I hate hard cookies! For the sugar in that recipe, I split it between the granulated and light brown sugar. I added 1/2 tsp extra cinnamon to the dough. I didn’t add the nutmeg to the dough as someone suggested, but I did have some in the cinnamon and sugar that these bad boys are rolled in, didn’t taste much of a difference; I will add it to dough next time. I did not refrigerate the cookies either before stuffing them and baking and I didn’t have any caramel leaks or flat cookies! I live in Connecticut and it was in the high 60s when I started these. If you’re in a warmer climate, you might still have to refrigerate them before baking. Then I used the Werther’s soft caramels (the pinkish/purpley ribbon one), the fresher the better because they might not have the hard edges and may be easier to bend, I rolled them into balls. Then I stuck them between the 2 snickerdoodle cookie balls, rolled them all together, making sure no caramel was visible. I wish I could post the pictures because they came out perfect. The first few tester cookies were a little bland to me, but I think the dough just needed a little rest.

    Has anyone tried adding flavoring to the caramel before putting between the cookies? For instance, rolling it in cinnamon or nutmeg before putting between the cookies. Does anyone know how long/temperature to reheat these up at so the caramel melts again?

    Thanks for any help, much appreciated.

  23. They turned out beautifully and so delicious! No problems with seepage or melting together. Perfect cookies

  24. Kathleen Bounds says:

    Hi, Sally! I love every recipe of yours I’ve made! I made the soft caramel snickerdoodle dough and refrigerated it overnight. Let sit 20 minutes on counter before rolling into balls. I used Werther’s soft caramels for the centers and baked as directed, rotating pans 1/2 way through. They turned into puddles- what might I have done wrong?? They taste AMAZING, so even if they spread a lot in the future, I’m still going to keep making
    them !!!! Thanks for all you do to help the rest of us bake delicious treats for our loved ones

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathleen! We’re so glad you loved them! Here’s a whole post on preventing cookies from spreading that may be useful to you.

      1. Kathleen Bounds says:

        Thank you!!

  25. So so so yummy. I could only find super hard caramels so I used Rolo’s in the centers. That addition of a little chocolate with the caramel made this snickerdoodle beyond brilliant.

  26. Hi Sally, I’m looking forward to making this recipe but wanted to experiment by adding a bit of green apple flavoring to the dough to make caramel apple cookies. The flavoring I got is concentrated and unsweetened, made specifically to use in baking or candy making. The manufacturer recommends adding 0.5-1 tsp for a “standard” batch of cookies (their words)- does this seem correct to you? Should I adjust any of the other ingredients so that I don’t throw off the liquid balance?

    1. Hi Bryn, that sounds absolutely delicious. If it’s like an extract, then 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sounds perfect. I would add 3/4 teaspoon and make no other changes to the recipe. That small amount of liquid won’t alter anything but the flavor.

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