Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Caramel chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

These caramel chocolate chip cookies are full of gooey caramel pieces and milk chocolate chips finished with a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Caramel chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

I’m going to be honest, Arby’s is not typically the place where I go for baking inspiration, but that’s exactly where I found it.

The caramel bits melt down into gooey, chewy threads of caramel throughout the cookie and the sprinkling of sea salt gives a nice contrast and a little bit of crunch. They taste the absolute best right out of the oven but are also excellent the next day with a cup of coffee.

To relive the “just out of the oven” experience, wrap them in a napkin and microwave for about 7 seconds and you will have your warm gooey cookie.

Caramel chocolate chip cookie dough

What’s the deal with sea salt on my cookies?

My 4 year old nephew echoes this sentiment. He was very skeptical of the salt on top. But you shouldn’t be. Salt is a major flavor enhancer for your baked goods and using it the right way will take your baked goods to the next level.

Humans need salt (sodium chloride) to survive, but our bodies can’t store it. Consequently, we are designed to crave it. Because of this, foods that are salted smell better and taste better to us. So using a little bit of salt on the top of your cookies deepens and enhances their flavor.

Caramel chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

What kind of salt should I use?

When I was growing up, it seemed like there was only one kind of salt. Morton iodized table salt. That salt is fine to use when you are using it in your cookie dough but that isn’t the stuff you want for the top of your cookies. Table salt has small dense grains (so it will taste extra salty). If it’s iodized, it will have a slightly metallic taste to it. (Iodine was added to salt back in 1924 to help prevent goiters).

We want to use a flaky sea salt, like Maldon, for the tops of these caramel chocolate chip cookies. Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water. Flaky sea salts are made by a very gradual evaporation and so they take on a more chunky, pyramid like shape. This leads to a more pleasant texture and appearance combined with the flavor, making it perfect for a finishing salt.

I can’t find Maldon sea salt in the stores where I live, so I have to order it online. If you’re looking in the stores, look for fleur de sel. It will have the same characteristics. It’s typically a more expensive salt because production is more laborious, so save it for finishing and don’t put it in your pasta water.

Caramel chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs large
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel bites
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.   If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
  • Beat together butter and shortening until completely combined.  Add in granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine.  Add in vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Turn mixer speed down to low, add in baking soda and flour, one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of your bowl.  Mix until combined.
  • Fold in caramel pieces and chocolate chips.  
  • Drop cookie dough by the tablespoonful onto lined cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and the brown is creeping up the edge of the cookie.
  • Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, sprinkle with just a touch of sea salt.  This is one of those situations where a little goes a long way. 

Notes

For the caramel pieces, I use these Kraft caramel bits.  
For the sea salt, I like to use Maldon, it seems a little weird just to have special finishing salt but because a little goes a long way, it will last you forever.
Caramel chocolate chip sea salt cookies

If you like caramel in your cookies, you might also want to try these whole wheat caramel apple cookies or these caramel swirl brownies!

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Happy Baking!

Sources:

Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

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