There is something alluring about the flavor of salted caramel. In fact, the sweet and salty combination brings together two of the five flavor experiences (the other three being sour, bitter, and umami). This layering of flavors makes the confection even more dynamic and interesting to the palate. In addition, salt acts as a flavor enhancer in foods, so adding a dash to caramelized sugar makes it taste even better.
This recipe starts as a classic brown sugar cookie. Using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cookie base further highlights that toffee flavor experience in every bite. It also helps make the cookies softer and chewier.
Once the cookies are cooled, they can be topped with the salted caramel topping. All you have to do is combine soft caramel candies with a bit of heavy cream and microwave until it is the perfect drizzling consistency. Then, each cookie is topped with an elegant sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Choose a salt with delicate, flaky grains, such as fleur de sel. It's not only beautiful but adds a wonderful texture as well as flavor.
Gather the ingredients. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well to combine.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and table salt.
Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, place the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir and continue to microwave in 15-second intervals until melted and smooth.
Drizzle the melted caramel over each cookie. If the caramel begins to thicken as you work, microwave again in 15-second increments.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cool at room temperature until the caramel sets. Enjoy.
How to Store and Freeze
- Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days.
- You can freeze the cookie dough for baking later. Instead of chilling the dough, transfer it to an airtight freezer container and press plastic wrap onto the top. Freeze for up to a month. To use, defrost overnight in the fridge before forming and baking.
If you love salted caramel but also are a bit of a chocoholic, you can certainly incorporate chocolate chips into this recipe. One way is to mix in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips into the cookie batter before chilling. Alternatively, you can drizzle the tops with both melted caramel and melted chocolate chips before sprinkling them with flaky sea salt.
What Is the Difference Between Salted Caramel and Caramel?
The only real difference between regular caramel and salted caramel is the addition of salt. While some caramel recipes call for a pinch of salt, salted caramel calls for more, making the mixture both sweet and salty. Flaky sea salt is commonly used for its texture and flavor.
Is Caramel the Same as Toffee?
Caramel and toffee have a similar flavor but are made slightly differently, resulting in different textures. Both candies are made by boiling sugar, with toffee cooking for longer to form a crunchy texture. Caramel candies also include milk or cream, further making them soft and chewy, while toffee is largely just sugar and butter.