I’ve been making these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies before I even started Butternut Bakery! I bake up a fresh batch for just about any occasion because they’re an absolute crowd-pleaser. With a chewy edge, gooey center, chocolate, caramel, and sea salt, EVERYONE loves them!
Adding texture to these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies
One unique ingredient in these cookies is lightly ground oats. They add so much texture to these cookies and help to create that ooey gooey center. The oats don’t absorb as much as moisture as flour so you’re left with a very soft dough.
To get the perfect consistency, dump your oats into a food processor and pulse about 5-6 times. It should look like the photo below.
You also want to make sure to use old fashioned rolled oats as opposed to quick oats. They’re much heartier so they don’t retain as much moisture and absorb into the cookie.
Another important step is to really whisk together the butter and sugar. This goes for almost any cookie recipe. You can use an electric mixer to make it easier but I like to make these cookies by hand. There’s just something about manually mixing your dough that makes the end product so much more satisfying!
The butter and sugar will look somewhat separated at first but keep whisking until you get a smooth and silky consistency like the photo below. This lightens your cookie dough and creates a more homogeneous cookie.
How to bake caramel into salted caramel chocolate chip cookies
This step is actually very simple but takes a little extra time. For this salted caramel cookies recipe, mixing in the caramel is as easy as the chocolate chips!
I like to use Werther’s soft caramels here because once melted into the cookie, they don’t stick to your teeth like crazy. It just gives a soft and silky caramel bite.
One important thing to keep note of is the size of your caramels. Using the Werther’s soft caramels, I cut them in half before adding them to the dough. This is because I used a large 2oz cookie scoop. It’s also much easier to chop them when they’ve been in the refrigerator.
You want to make sure your caramels are proportionate to the size of your cookies, otherwise a large caramel piece in a small cookie will cause it to spread too much in the oven. You’ll be left with a puddle of melted caramel and hardly any cookie. I explain this further in the baking process below.
If you plan on making smaller cookies, cut your caramels a bit smaller. Again, I halved mine but you could quarter them as well for a more standard cookie size.
Why chill cookie dough before baking?
I know, nothing is worse than when you’re so excited to make a fresh batch of cookies only to realize they have to be refrigerated overnight. Just trust me when I say it’s so necessary and so worth the wait.
The reason being, a lot happens to the cookie dough as it chills. One of the more obvious reasons is that the cookie dough needs time to firm up before baking. Chilled cookie dough spreads slower in the oven, giving you that gooey center and chewy edges.
It also enhances the flavor of the cookie. In a King Arthur Flour blog post, they explain this perfectly. As the dough chills, it beings to dry out which transforms the texture and flavor.
Think of it as lemonade…a lemonade mix with more water has a weaker flavor as opposed to a well balanced lemonade drink. Therefore, less moisture in the cookie dough leads to a stronger flavor.
In order to prep your cookie dough for the refrigerator, make sure to pre-scoop your dough. If you chill the entire bowl it will not only take longer to chill, but it will also be nearly impossible to scoop it out because it will be completely solid.
Scoop your cookie dough onto a small baking tray lined with parchment paper. When they’re ready to bake, just pull the dough off the tray for each batch. Place the rest back in the fridge while that batch bakes.
The trick to baking perfect salted caramel chocolate chip cookies
We discussed the size of the caramels, now we need to talk about baking these caramel cookies as it can be a bit tricky.
First and foremost, make sure your caramels are EVENLY dispersed throughout your dough. A cookie with too much caramel will melt and lose its shape when baked.
Although, there will be times when this can partially happen to a cookie as you can see above. This is because the caramel was too close to the bottom edges of the cookie dough when scooped, so the caramel melted and burned around the edge as it baked. Side note – it still tastes amazing, it just looks a little more………..rustic.
Not to worry! It’s an easy fix and won’t affect the cookie. You can either completely cut that part off or use the edge of a butter knife to gently push the cookie back into its normal shape. I like to do a mix of the two techniques where I chop off SOME of the melted caramel and push the edges back in.
You could also leave it alone for a little crunchy bite! But if you do mold the cookie back to normal, make sure to do so when it’s still warm and on the baking tray. Just BE CAREFUL as the tray will still be hot.
Why you want to under bake these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies
You’ll notice the cookies might look a little underdone but that’s exactly what we’re going for. As you can see in the photo of the melted cookie on the baking tray, it’s pale, puffy, and gooey in the middle. That’s what it should look like straight from the oven.
As the cookies cool, they’ll continue to bake and settle from the residual heat. Thus, giving you a cookie that looks exactly like the ones above.
Using this method will help you get that perfectly chewy outside and soft inside.
And don’t forget the sea salt on top! My favorite is by Maldon and that little box has lasted me so long. I’ve hardly made a dent. Sprinkle some on top of the WARM cookies so that it sticks. It not only looks great, but it enhances the flavor of these delicious salted caramel chocolate chip cookies.
For more delicious chocolate chip cookie recipes, check out my:
- Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Nutella Stuffed Deep Dish Cookie
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram or comment below if you make these Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print
These salted caramel chocolate chip cookies are chewy on the outside and gooey on the inside. With pieces of caramel baked right in, there’s a bit of chocolate and caramel in every bite!
- 3/4 cup lightly ground old fashioned oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup Werther’s soft caramels, chopped
- Flaked sea salt for sprinkling
*RECIPE MAKES 18-20 LARGE COOKIES. SEE NOTES FOR HALF MEASUREMENTS.
- For the caramels, I chopped mine in half and used a large 2oz cookie scoop. If you’re using a smaller scoop, cut the caramels into quarters to make even smaller pieces. They’re also much easier to chop when they’ve had time to chill in the fridge. Set aside.
- Dump 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats into a food processor and pulse 5-6 times. You should be left with some finely ground bits with some larger chunks. See photo in post for reference.
- Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and melted butter. Keep whisking until you get a smooth and silky consistency. See photo above for reference.
- Whisk in the vanilla and eggs.
- Fold in the dry ingredients until combined. Then, fold in the chocolate and caramels.
- Scoop your cookie dough side-by-side onto a small cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This recipe makes 18-20 large cookies. Refrigerate for AT LEAST 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- When ready, preheat the oven to 350F and bake 4-5 cookies at a time on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place the rest back in the fridge when the others bake.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes for large cookies, 13-15 for regular cookies. The edges should be a nice golden brown and the center still slightly doughy.
- You may get some cookies where the caramels melt out. If that’s the case, take a knife and cut off some of the excess then use a spoon to push the cookie back together. Do this while the cookie is still warm and on the baking tray.
- Let them rest for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with sea salt when they’re still warm.
- For a more gooey cookie, enjoy when they’re still warm. Otherwise, eat them at room temperature for a perfectly soft center.
RECIPE – HALF
6 tbsp lightly ground old fashioned oats, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 large egg, 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, Heaping 1/4 cup Werther’s soft caramels, chopped, Flaked sea salt for sprinkling
Keywords: salted caramel chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies, caramel cookies