Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

I’ll never forget the year Starbucks released their Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate. It was simultaneously the best and worst holiday season ever. It didn’t take long for this perfect flavor combination to become a near every day occurrence in my life.

Did I mention I was living in northern Idaho at the time? It was cold, and nothing says comfort from the cold like a warm, rich, delicious drink. Except maybe a warm soft and chewy chocolate cookie filled with gooey caramel and topped with coarse sea salt. I knew as soon as my amazing friend Nicole shared some of her amazing caramels with me, that I wanted needed to make these cookies.

Do you feel comforted yet? Once upon a time I used to be the comforting one. I was the one everyone went to when they had a bad day, and I would listen and give tons of advice that I probably had no business giving because I was kind of a hot mess myself, but I was, like, 20 years old and thought I knew everything. You know how it goes. I had (ummm, wait…I still have…) a special “heart to heart” pillow. That’s a little embarrassing. You hold it while you cry then I feed you words that magically fix everything, and at the same time put an end to world hunger. I know, I am so cool.

These days however, I’m painfully aware that I know basically nothing, and so instead of pretending to be smart, I shove cookies in people’s face and call it “my way of showing I care”. Somehow, I think people prefer this.

I may not be a master with words, but I have to say, I am pretty much a master of soft, gooey cookies. I mess up a lot of things in the kitchen (including ending up with things that are kind-of-not-really-at-all-baked on a regular basis…), but I always have soft cookies, and these cookies are like biting into a dark chocolate mocha brownie, finding surprise caramel on the inside, and then getting the hint of salt that cuts through the sugar to provide perfect balance.

I wish I could solve all your problems by shoveling them into your mouth right at this moment. Keep me in mind for the next time, though…   Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies yield 20 cookies

  • 1/2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process or Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 10 caramels, halved
  • 2-3 tbs mini dark chocolate chips
  • coarse sea salt for topping (such as fleur de sel)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together apple butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until well combined. Beat in dry ingredients. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Form dough into 1″ balls. Press 1/2 caramel into the center of each ball and roll dough around until it is covering it completely, then place on lined baking sheet. Gently press a pinch of mini dark chocolate chips onto the top of each dough ball, then top with a pinch of salt.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges have set and cookies pull easily off of the baking sheet. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.



  1. says

    Mmm you worked some magic with those caramels! I wasn’t exactly sure what you were planning with them, but I knew you’d make something awesome! These look great!

    I clearly remember the year that Starbucks came out with the salted caramel hot chocolate too. It was a major victory for me because there was finally a hot drink at Starbucks that I would enjoy (this pre-dates my like for hot chai)

  2. says

    These look fabulous. I love the sweet and salty combination of chocolate and salted caramel–it’s one of my favorites. The apple butter is the surprise ingredient here! I hope to try these soon. Thanks so much1

  3. says

    Yummy! Your cookies always look awesome, oh my goodness :) And funny you should mention northern Idaho.. I live just across the border from northern Idaho! It’s been cold so far this year, but not too cold. But I still need these cookies in my life 😀

  4. says

    these sound amazing Ari! trying the salted caramel hot chocolate at starbucks has been on my to do list for I don’t know how long – i always think about it but somehow it always gets bypassed for coffee of some sort. I think I need to make a special trip just for hot chocolate :)

  5. Ashley says

    I made these last week and they were awesome! I used store-bought carmels since I was short on time, but next time I will definitely use my own. So super good! Thanks for the recipe

  6. Ashley says

    I’m not a huge sweets type person. But I could eat a trough of these. I finally had time to make my own caramels and it is just magical. I make these all the time now. They are my all-time favorite cookies EVER! The texture is the best, best taste. I dream about these!!!!


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