There is no shortage of creative cookie recipes out there, but when push comes to shove, chocolate chip is my favorite. Unlike most people, I’m not really in it for the melty chocolate; instead, it’s the wonderfully buttery caramelized dough that sends me over the moon. After years of making classic chocolate chip cookies, I started to wonder if they might be improved with just a touch more smoky caramel flavor, and so I worked out this recipe for salted caramel chocolate chip cookies.
On the outside, they’re everything you want a chocolate chip cookie to be: crisp, buttery edges, with a soft center. Inside, the caramel mingles beautifully with chocolate chips. They’re the perfect dessert for parties, or anytime you need something extra special.
Below, you’ll find the directions for homemade caramel. While it can seem challenging to the novice, once you have the hang of it, homemade caramel is a cinch to make. Though I haven’t tried it, my guess is that store bought dulce de leche would be a great substitute.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 36 large cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes per batch
For the caramel (adapted from Simply Recipes)
Makes: approximately 1 cup caramel
1 cup granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Note: Because molten sugar is extremely hot, handle with care and make sure little hands and feet are out of the kitchen.
1. Heat sugar in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar occasionally. After 5 or 10 minutes, pay close attention as the the sugar will start to liquefy and coalesce into chunks. Keep stirring. Next, the sugar will turn golden and liquify. (This is where you want to be careful since liquid sugar is much hotter than boiling water.)
2. Just as the sugar has completely melted, add the butter, and stir until melted. The butter may really froth up, but the large pot should accommodate this.
3. Once butter has melted, remove from heat, wait five seconds, and slowly stir in the cream. Store any leftover caramel in a sealed jar in the fridge for other uses.
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for finishing
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 room temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. To make the dough, combine in a medium bowl flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
3. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on low speed for 3 minutes. Slowly add sugars and beat for 3 minutes more, until ingredients are light and creamy. Next, add the eggs and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, fold in the flour, mixing just until combined. Finally, fold in the chips, making sure they are well-dispersed throughout the dough.
4. Scoop the dough in 1 inch balls onto prepared cookie sheets, and flatten slightly. Make a small, quarter-sized well in the center of the dough and drizzle in a half teaspoon liquid caramel. Top each caramel-filled dough round with an additional 1 inch ball of dough, taking care to seal the edges with caramel inside; use extra dough to patch holes, if needed. (If caramel isn’t sealed within the dough, it will leak out and burn while baking.) Finally, sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sea or kosher salt.
5. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until the edges are just golden, and the centers have barely set. Cool on baking sheet for 4 minutes, and then use a spatula to place cookies on a rack to cool. When cookies are completely cool, move to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to three days.