Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bites

Unapologetically inspired by the classic movie theater candy, Milk Duds, these two-bite morsels combine a chocolaty cookie shell with a soft caramel center.  Deceptively looking like regular old chocolate cookies, the stream of sweet caramel that flows out when you bite into them is a welcome surprise!

chocolate caramel

These cookies are ridiculously easy to make.  Almost dangerously easy because you will soon find yourself wanting to make them everyday … at least I do!  When I decided to make a Milk Dud-inspired cookie, I searched around for an appropriate recipe to use for the chocolate shell.  I needed something that would be sturdy enough to hide the soft caramel center, yet soft enough to maintain a cookie-like texture.  Deb’s recipe for brownie roll-out cookies looked perfect.  Soft, pliable dough that could be easily rolled around a caramel while still providing an intense chocolate flavor.


chocolate cookie dough

This recipe is essentially a chocolate sugar cookie but it has such a deep chocolate flavor that the name doesn’t really do it justice.  I was tempted to call these beauties Caramel Brownie Bites but my always honest boyfriend/taste-tester extraordinaire informed me that calling them brownies was misleading since they are much closer to the cookie family.  So Chocolate Caramel Cookies Bites it is!

chocolate cookie rolling in sugar

The dough will probably seem very dry and crumbly at first.  Don’t be alarmed, this is because it is a sugar cookie dough.  Once you chill the dough and begin rolling, it should come together.  If pieces fall off, don’t hesitate to just press them back into your rolled cookie.  Also, I only rolled small portions of the dough at a time (I probably rolled it out in 3 or 4 smaller batches).  You want the dough to be between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.  This will allow you to fully cover the caramel with an even amount of cookie.  I rolled them in raw sugar to give them an extra sparkle and some crunch to the outside, but this is definitely optional.  If you are a fan of salted caramels, you might want to try rolling them in some coarse sea salt before baking.  I bet that would be amazing!

caramels

If you are ambitious, you could make your own caramels.  Still being slightly terrified of candy thermometers and the perils of candy making, I opted for the store bought kind that do not create a danger of third-degree burns/scalding/fires/death.  One day I will conquer my fear and make my own caramels!  I promise I will!  Just not today …

chocolate caramel cookies on plate

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Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bites

Ingredients-

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 bag of caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar (for rolling)

Directions-

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
- Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
- Wrap dough ball in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
- Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into roughly 1 1/2 - 2 inch diameter circles or squares (the shape and precision of the cut section doesn't really matter since you will be wrapping it around the caramel anyway), brushing extra deposits of flour off the top.
- Roll the dough around an unwrapped caramel. Roll the dough back and forth in your hands until it forms a smooth ball.
- Roll the ball in a bowl of raw or turbinado sugar, pressing slightly to coat with sugar.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are firm.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

* I used regular old Hershey's cocoa (I thought it would be most appropriate since Milk Duds are a Hershey's product) but feel free to substitute a higher quality chocolate if you have it. I'm sure it would just add to the intensity of the chocolate flavor.

Note: These are best served fresh from the oven or slightly reheated (a quick zap in the microwave will do the trick). This warms the caramel up, making it gooey and delicious. Served at room temperature they are still yummy but the caramels are chewier.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

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26 Responses to “Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bites”

  1. 1
    Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) — March 29, 2009 6:31 pm

    Milk Dud cookies? FANtastic!

  2. 2
    caitlyn — March 29, 2009 4:05 pm

    These look fabulous!

  3. 3
    Jules — March 29, 2009 4:39 pm

    Oh.my.goodness these look amazing!

  4. 4
    Julie — March 29, 2009 4:56 pm

    Mmm two of my favorite things: Chocolate and Caramel! Can’t go wrong there!

  5. 5
    Erin — March 29, 2009 5:19 pm

    These look fabulous! I love chocolate and caramel!

  6. 6
    Laura Flowers — March 29, 2009 10:09 pm

    These looks sooo neat!

  7. 7
    Andy — March 30, 2009 9:48 pm

    How creative! The ooey, gooey caramel is making my mouth water. After years of not having these caramels, I was very surprised at how delicious they were when I picked them up at the grocery store.

  8. 8
    Maya — March 31, 2009 5:46 am

    Wow, look at all that delicious caramel.

  9. 9
    greenbean — March 31, 2009 11:40 am

    yum!! i will try these!

    the oatmeal cookie guy uses rolos candy in his stuffed cookies. they stay gooey warm or cooled
    off.

    http://oatmealcookie.typepad.com/

  10. 10
    Foodess — April 6, 2009 12:25 am

    Oh my god, those look so freaking good it’s unreal.

  11. 11
    Linda — April 14, 2009 5:24 pm

    I found your reference to these on Dimah’s website, omg, they look fabulous and I will try them … what about buying a bottle of Starbuck’s caramel and using that for filling? I plan to try these tomorrow! Thank you for sharing!

    Linda
    Kentuckyhideaway.wordpress.com

  12. 12
    Duffy — April 27, 2009 4:32 pm

    I make a variation of this recipe. I add a cup of finely chopped pecans in the cookie dough and also mixed with the sugar to roll them in. I also put rolos in the center instead of milk duds or caramel squares. Love this cookie recipe!

    • kate replied: — April 27th, 2009 5:32 pm

      Duffy – That sounds fantastic! I’ll have to try it with pecans next time around. I bet it gave them a nice crunch. So glad you liked it!

  13. 13
    Michelle — May 21, 2009 10:35 am

    Oooh, just stumbled onto this page and it’s bookmarked!

  14. 14
    Jenna — May 22, 2009 1:16 pm

    I just made these and they are very good, however I made them too thick and there wasn’t enough caramel for the whole cookie. Next time I’ll either make with less dough or more caramel! Thanks for the great recipe!!!

  15. 15
    Hugging the Coast — June 2, 2009 4:26 am

    Amazing. Just amazing!

  16. 16
    Garden Man — June 4, 2009 11:38 am

    Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Great post, you did such a nice job presenting the pictures too…I am definitely going to have to try that recipe this weekend! Thanks :)

  17. 17
    Fallon — June 22, 2009 10:37 am

    Hello Dash of Sash! I had a question on your chocolate caramel cookie bites. My boyfriend is currently in Iraq for an entire year and right now the weather is 120degrees++++. I can’t send him any baked goods that will melt until it becomes winter. I saw these cookies with the caramel in the middle and think these would be an ideal cookie to ship. Do you think they would hold up? They look like a sturdy cookie and with the caramel wrapped in the middle, I think it be prefect by the time he got them. What do you think?

    Thanks!

    • kate replied: — June 22nd, 2009 2:56 pm

      Fallon – I think that this might cookie might actually work for you. It is very sturdy (I mailed a whole batch of them across the country) so long as you make sure to seal the outside chocolate layer very well. The only danger would be that the caramel would melt and leak out a bit. If you are careful to seal the seams up tightly, I think it would probably work. Worst case, he gets some chocolate cookies with some melted caramel! Let me know how to works out!!

  18. 18
    Fallon — June 23, 2009 10:31 am

    haha!! Thanks. I just kept these bookmarked because it looked like a good cookie I could ship to him in Iraq while its 120+ degrees out there!! I like the positive advice and I’m doing to try it out, and will let you know how they turn out when he receives them!

  19. 19
    Jeff — June 29, 2009 12:42 pm

    I made these with homemade caramels. DELICIOUS! They kind of flattened out, though, so they were flat chocolate cookies full of caramel goodness. Still worth the time to make them, though.

  20. 20
    Katie — September 5, 2010 12:18 am

    agh, why can’t mine look like that?! :( they were still delicious though.

  21. 21
    Sarah — October 6, 2010 3:28 pm

    I made these, gluten free, this week and some issues occurred. I’ve never been good at rolling out anything so after a while of frustrations I just started pulling pieces off the dough ball and rolling it around the caramels. That technique worked great! I also filled some with chocolate chips and cashew butter. Another addition I made was to the sugar coating, I added cinnamon and they got a real nice kick.

  22. 22
    Sara — December 27, 2010 3:13 pm

    I agree with Sarah, it’s much easier to just pull pieces of dough and wrap them around the caramels. I tried these out today and they are divine! Some things I did differently though, I added about two tablespoons of really strong coffee and I melted 1/4 cup of melted semi- sweet chocolate chips to the batter, the chocolate flavor was muchb better! They were so much more delactable! Also because of the added moisture, there was no need to refrigerate the dough, so thats also a time saver!

  23. 23
    Arfi — March 17, 2011 5:33 pm

    I’ve bookmarked this recipe!

  24. 24
    KK — September 23, 2012 9:18 pm

    I had a hard time with these. If I rolled the dough too thin they leaked; too thick and the chocolate to caramel ratio was off. I’m going to pick up a bag of Rolos tomorrow to try with the rest of the dough. I tried a few with sea salt as salted caramels are a popular treat around here but found that rolling the whole cookie in the salt overwhelmed the rest of the flavors. Overall this is a great idea that I need to execute better! Thanks!

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