Enjoy rich buttery caramel flavor in every bite of these salted caramel cookies. Each chewy caramel-flavored cookie is drizzled with caramel sauce and sprinkled with salt flakes. There's caramel sauce in the cookie dough too.
I spent days experimenting with this recipe and finally found the best salted caramel cookie recipe! I am so excited to share these cookies with you. They are amazingly good.
Many of my failed cookies tasted more like chocolate-chip cookies without the chips. They had a delicious flavor but I wanted my cookies to really taste like caramel so I knew I needed to ramp up the caramel flavor.
To do so, I started by adding caramel sauce to the cookie dough and on top of the cookies. That recipe made delicious cookies but I still wasn't happy with the caramel flavor. They needed something more, so I added a special ingredient that took these cookies over-the-top.
How to get more caramel flavor in your cookies?
Add a splash of caramel flavoring to really enhance the caramel flavor in these cookies.
I used LorAnn Caramel Bakery Emulsion to flavor my cookies. This thick, syrup-like flavoring was the trick to perfectly flavored caramel cookies. I highly recommend investing in a bottle of this liquid gold. I couldn't believe the difference it made in the flavor of these caramel cookies.
There are other caramel flavorings on the market that might work too. I just haven't tried them yet.
butter - Use softened unsalted butter. To quickly soften the butter, cut it into small pieces and place them in your mixing bowl. In about 20 minutes, your butter will be ready.
brown and granulated sugar - A combination of both brown and white sugar will enhance the caramel flavor of your cookies. Use dark brown sugar if you have it, otherwise light will work fine.
caramel sauce - I made homemade caramel sauce (see my recipe below) but you can use any thick store-bought caramel sauce. I don't recommend thin ice cream topping as it will drip off the tops of your cookies.
caramel flavoring - I recommend using LorAnn Caramel Bakery Emulsion. It has a wonderful flavor that will not evaporate as your cookies bake.
vanilla extract - Round out the flavor by adding a splash of pure vanilla extract.
flour - Use all-purpose flour. It's always best to weigh your flour. We use 128 grams of flour per cup, so you'll need 288 grams for this cookie recipe. If you measure using cups, spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then scrape the excess off the top. You'll use 2 ¼ cups of flour to make this salted caramel cookie dough.
baking soda and baking powder - With the addition of the thick caramel sauce to this recipe, it's important to give your cookies enough lift.
salt - You'll be adding more salt to the top of these cookies, but the cookie dough needs a bit of salt too in order to balance out the sweetness of the sugars and caramel sauce.
How to make easy caramel sauce?
Choose your caramel. I love using Peter's Caramel. It has a great flavor and texture. It's creamy and smooth not gritty or dry. Werther's caramels are another great option. No matter what caramel you use, cut it into small pieces so it melts more evenly.
Melt the caramel with some water. Pour the water into a small saucepan and add the caramel. Set the pan over medium-low heat. Allow the caramel to melt, stirring it constantly once it begins to melt.
Then, stir in heavy whipping cream. It will bubble up. Stir until it's smooth and creamy.
To make 1 cup of caramel sauce, use:
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8 ounces caramel
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
You'll need about ¼ cup of caramel sauce (to mix into the dough) plus ⅓ cup (to drizzle over top) for this salted caramel cookie recipe. You'll have some extra sauce to enjoy over ice cream, cheesecake, or coffee.
Make the dough.
You'll make this cookie dough the way you make chocolate chip cookie dough by creaming the butter and sugars together.
Then, you'll mix in the egg and flavorings (vanilla and caramel) before adding the caramel sauce.
Once you've blended your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) together, you'll mix them into the wet ingredients just until the dough comes together.
This dough is easy enough to make by hand but you can also use a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer.
Bake cookies then top them with salted caramel.
Scoop the cookies out by the tablespoonful. I like using a mini ice cream scoop to make even-sized cookies.
Do not roll or flatten the cookies. If you roll the caramel cookie dough into balls, your baked cookies won't have those wonderful cracks on top. The cookies will flatten naturally as they bake but they should not be too flat. If they flatten too much, you may not have measured the flour properly or your butter may have gotten too warm. Add a bit more flour and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Top the cookies with caramel sauce. You can see the need for a thick caramel sauce here. If your sauce is too thin it will drip off the cookie.
Sprinkle on salt. I like to use salt flakes because they look really pretty on my salted caramel cookies, but you can use Kosher salt too. Do not use table salt. It's too fine to show up and your cookies will taste too salty.