Soft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies

Soft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies

It is officially Monday Box season at our house. Two weeks ago,  I drove my son back to Chicago for his junior year in college. Even though his small refrigerator and several storage boxes had been left in Chicago over the summer, our SUV was packed to capacity. Two years ago, everything my son needed for his entire freshman year fit into that SUV.  At this rate, we are going to need a moving van when he graduates.  Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesOn the way to Chicago we made a list of all the things he forgot at home that would be sent in the first Monday Box; his brown boat shoes, a large frying pan, a sauce pan with a lid, protein bars, and a protein shake shaker cup.  We also discussed his current hit parade of cookie flavors. My son’s eating habits changed drastically when he went away to college. He eats and enjoys so many more things than he did before. I need to check-in with him every now and then just to be sure I still have an idea of what his favorites are.

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesCaramel-chocolate is a favorite. That hasn’t changed. The very first cookie he put on his “World’s Best” list was a chocolate toffee cookie from Smitten Kitchen. That one is very chocolaty, with crispy edges and a chewy center. It doesn’t contain caramel but is full of toffee bits which taste almost the same as caramel. This time, I thought I would bake a cookie that concentrated on the caramel and used chocolate as the accent.

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesIt turned out to be easier said than done. The vast majority of caramel-chocolate cookie or bar recipes use a chocolate dough. The caramel dough recipes I found and tried, didn’t taste like caramel. I tried four. My husband brought a lot of tasty, but not what I was looking for, cookies/bars to work. His employees were happy. I was not.

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesThen I found this recipe on Bakers Royale and discovered yet another cooking skill I need to work on. The original recipe calls for homemade caramel and includes directions. I swear I followed those directions carefully….three times. Every time my caramel browned too quickly and burned. My adaptation of the recipe, therefore, does not call for homemade caramel. I happily settled on a can of dulce de leche, but a can or jar of thick caramel sauce would also work. Grated chocolate spreads throughout the batter more than big chocolate chips. You could use mini chips with a similar effect. I did two things to up the caramel flavor of the original recipe, both are completely optional as is the drizzle on top. Just the plain, puffy, chocolate speckled cookie is quite good on its own. First, I added a packet of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations caramel flavor. The Frosting Creations increased the caramel flavor and added additional toasty brown color to the cookie. I also hid a caramel in the center of each cookie. When warm (fresh from the oven or microwaved for 10 seconds) the gooey caramel oozes from the center when you bite in.

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesThe flavor and texture of Soft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies improves for several days after baking. The caramel flavor increases. The cookie dough is soft and the caramel center is chewy. The toffee bits provide a little crunch. If you are mailing these cookies in warm weather, I suggest skipping the decorative drizzle.  Kept in an airtight container at room temperature, Soft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies stay fresh for at least one week.

Soft and Chewy Caramel Chocolate CookiesSoft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Bakers Royale

 (Printable recipe)

 Makes about 20 cookies

 Ingredients:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 packet Duncan Hines Frosting Creations caramel flavor (optional)

½ cup canned dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract

2 tablespoons golden syrup or corn syrup

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup toffee bits (1 cup toffee bits if not using caramels)

1 cup grated chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or milk)

20 caramels, unwrapped (I used Kraft)

 For drizzle:

1 cup chocolate chips

18-20 caramels, unwrapped

 Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and (optional) caramel Frosting Creations.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand), combine  dulce de leche, egg, vanilla, and golden/corn syrup.
  • Mix in sugars.
  • Slowly add flour mixture until just combined.
  • Fold in toffee bits, then grated chocolate.
  • Chill dough for about1hour, until no longer sticky.

 When ready to bake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, scoop a dough ball and roll between hands to form a smooth ball. If filling the cookies with a caramel center, tear the dough ball in half, place a caramel in the center, put the dough ball halves back together, and roll between hands to completely encase the caramel and re-create a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 3 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

For decorative drizzle:

  • Place chocolate chips in a zip lock bag and microwave for about 1 minute to melt. Cut a tiny corner off the bottom of the bag for piping the melted chocolate onto the cookies.
  • Place caramels in a microwave safe bowl and melt them in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir to determine if melted to drizzling consistency. If not, return to the microwave and heat for ten second intervals until ready. Use a spoon to drizzle.

  • Zig zag the melted caramel over the cookies, then repeat with the melted chocolate. Allow the drizzle to harden at room temperature for several hours before storing the cookies.
  • Cookies will remain fresh at least 1 week when stored at room temperature in an air tight container or zip lock bag. Cookies can be reheated for about 10 seconds in the microwave to soften the caramel center.

Packing tips:   Double wrap pairs of cookies (with bottoms together) in plastic wrap, then place in an airtight container or zip lock bag. For longer storage, vacuum sealing is recommended.

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30 thoughts on “Soft and Chewy Caramel-Chocolate Cookies

  1. These cookies sound delicious Wendy! I love that the actual cookie base isn’t chocolate. And I was the same way when I went to college. Every year I somehow had way more stuff – by the time I graduated we actually did have to rent a small u-haul thing to attach to the back of my parent’s car!

    • Thanks, Ashley! I was really surprised at how hard it was to find caramel cookies with caramel dough. These are full of caramel flavor. :)
      I think everyone acquires “stuff” as the years go by but my son’s expanding possessions surprised me. He is not a shopper or a high maintenance fashion guy. So I had to laugh when I asked him what he thought was taking up so much room and he suggested it might be his expanding shoe collection! (including tennis shoes he may be up to 4 pairs! :) )

  2. You’re the best mom ever! Not only for carting an SUV full of stuff to your son’s college but also for making these incredible cookies. Seriously – my eyes bugged out of my head like a cartoon character at all of your photos, especially the one showing that melting caramel inside. Whoa!

    • Thank you, Nancy! Your comments always make me smile. :) I honestly don’t have any idea how to move a college kid who is going too far from home to drive. People do it all the time, I just don’t have any experience with it. My daughter went to school 6 hrs away in Des Moines, Iowa and my son is 6 hrs away in Chicago. The driving trick is books on CD. The miles fly by when you are listening to a good book. :) Or you can spend 6 hours thinking up cookies.
      I love that days after baking, these cookies can be zapped for 10 seconds and they will do that melty caramel caramel thing like they just came out of the oven!

      • My sisters and I took it easy on my parents. We all went to school in the same city so they didn’t have to move us around at all. We all lived at home so that we could save money and seriously, thank God for parents. My mom had a hot delicious home cooked meal waiting for me every night when I got home from my classes. Just know that kids like me and your son truly appreciate it! And thanks for the tip on microwaving the cookie. Caramel should always be melt-y ;)

      • I wish I could forward this comment to your mom. You would definitely make her smile! Thanks also Nancy for mentioning these cookies in a tweet! Both of my “kids” roll their eyes at me (teenagers and adult kids always roll their eyes at their moms), but I am so, so, so inept at tweeting. Pinning I have down. Facebook I am trying. But tweeting eludes me. :) I have every intention of entering this century soon.

  3. Hi Wendy! I saw a great tip the other day on another food blog for making caramel. Add 1/4 tsp of cream of tarter to the sugar. I tried it, and got the caramel right the first time! :) Hope this helps!

  4. look at those insides, my goodness! Here i was thinking (when i saw the cover photo) that i was just going to get excited by a caramel chocolate flavor cookie, not actual caramel oozing out of the inside! i love that. quite decadent, and how much fun to eat.

    • Thanks, Shannon! The chewy (or oozy when warm) caramel center went over big with my son. He actually called to say how much he liked them. That’s not the typical response I get, so I know he REALLY liked them. :) If you are going to go the decadent route, I say go all the way!

  5. Wendy….these cookies look absolutely amazing! When I first looked at them….I thought they were big scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream! I bet the texture is incredible, and caramel and chocolate go together like peas and carrots! Though my boys are are out of college now, your drive back to school is eerily similar. Right down to forgetting the protein shake shaker cup! Wow! Thanks so much for giving me the recommendation of the Tequila Mockingbird cocktail book! I will absolutely look for that one! Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, Anne! I must have done something right with these cookies because my son actually called to say how much he like them! (Having sons yourself, I suspect you understand that calling to say you like cookies isn’t the norm.) The texture is soft and chewy with the extra caramel zing of the melted caramel center. I agree, chocolate and caramel do go together like peas and carrots…just not as healthy! :)
      I hope you can find the Tequila Mockingbird book. I think it is really quite clever especially if you are a classical literature enthusiast. :)
      I hope you have a great weekend as well!

  6. Wendy – I love that your son’s eating habits have changed so much and he’s clearly gotten so adventurous (not to mention being a good cook himself, I’m sure). He is truly lucky to have a mom who’s a pro at shipping delicious treats, customized to his specs and liking.

    You’ve really amp’ed up these cookies with the caramel filling. We love cookies with crispy edges and chewy, soft centers. An gooey center like this is a big bonus. I suspect your son loved your creation. I wish him a very successful junior year at college!

    • Thanks, Jocelyn! There is something about melted caramel that brings on an OMG reaction. :) I’m not sure that my son always thinks he won the parental lottery, but I am pretty sure he always knows he is loved. :)

  7. I was the same way when I was at RU – first year I was very low key but by senior year it took multiple trips to get everything to my apartment! Cookies would have made the whole experience a great deal better heehee, especially when they are covered in caramel and chocolate drizzles! Gorgeous cookies, Wendy!

  8. I want a big plate of these right now with every fiber of my being! I am loving on caramel right now especially for placing in the centers of cookies! It’s such a great unexpected surprise. I bet your son will love these!

  9. Pingback: Caramel Chocolate Cookies Soft and Chewy

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