Cookies/ Dessert/ Fall Baking

Caramel-Stuffed Molasses Cookies

These brown sugar molasses cookies are a classic taken to the next level, thanks to browned butter and a soft, chewy caramel baked into the center of each one. Sprinkle with sea salt, pour a tall glass of milk, and enjoy!

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Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

I really had the best intentions of eating well this week, by which I mean, mostly, not eating a huge amount of dessert. We’re going to Tuscany for a week soon (#expatperks) and even though we’re most likely past pool season, I still like the idea of being the slimmer, svelter version of myself when we go on vacation, you know? The self who ate a lot of salads and lean protein and now feels nice and trim and ready to cancel out all those good choices with too much gelato and pasta.

Buuut. That self crumbled when these cookies got in the way.

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

I didn’t even really mean to make cookies this week. They just kind of happened, I swear. After the muffins, I started brainstorming other fall favors, then happened upon the idea of stuffing caramels into brown sugar cookies, and we already know the good things that happen when caramel enters a cookie thanks to this salted chocolate chip insanity.

Then out of nowhere a bag of soft caramels leapt into my shopping bag one afternoon on the way home. Before I could even think about what I was doing, the oven was preheated, the dough made.

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

I think swirling in the molasses was the most enjoyable part of the whole process. Up until, you know, the eating part.

Molasses adds fantastic color and richness to baked goods, of course, but also savory sauces and rubs. I use it all year round, but something about the flavor especially conveys “fall.”

These cookies get an extra shot of flavor from browned butter and the use of all brown sugar. These are all small changes from your everyday cookie dough, which add up to a super chewy, super flavorful cookie. They bake up nice and soft, yet plenty sturdy to envelope a caramel. If you’re a caramel fanatic like me, you’ll enjoy the whole cookie, but crave those caramel-y bites in the middle something fierce!

Not even pretending to resist these caramel-stuffed molasses cookies!Click To Tweet

A short tour in the oven and these cookies are ready for prime-time. Take them out, sprinkle with sea salt, and let them cool a few minutes. Waiting is the hardest part!

Now pull one apart and ogle that chewy, stretchy caramel.

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

You might be tempted to skip the sea salt on top, but I strongly recommend it. The cookies are very sweet, which is no surprise with all that molasses, brown sugar, and caramel action. The bite of the sea salt contrasts all that sweetness very well and keeps the overall effect from being over the top.

If you’re eating a cookie after it’s fully cooled, you might want to microwave it for 10-20 seconds on medium power, just to replicate that soft, stretchy caramel effect. But they’re also delicious straight off the counter. Take it from me.

Which brings me back to my original point about these having pretty well derailed my healthy eating plans for the week. I have to admit, though, they were worth it! I mean, honestly, caramel-stuffed molasses cookies? I’m glad you’re in my life. ♥

Enjoy!

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

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Caramel-Stuffed Molasses Cookies

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 18 cookies

Chewy brown sugar molasses cookie dough wrapped around a soft caramel, baked to a soft batch consistency, and sprinkled with sea salt. Irresistible!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 170 grams) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups (320 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 18 unwrapped soft candy caramels

Instructions

  1. Melt 8 tablespoons (113 grams) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring or swirling the pan frequently, for 1-3 minutes, until the butter foams and then turns a dark golden color. Remove immediately from the heat and allow to cool for about 1 minute.
  2. Break the remaining 4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter into a few pieces and add it to the pan with the browned butter. Stir until completely melted, and set aside to cool for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Line cookie sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, and set aside.
  4. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  5. When butter has cooled, add brown sugar to the pan, followed by the molasses, and whisk to combine. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, and whisk again until evenly combined. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the butter-sugar mixture, and fold with a spatula or wooden spoon just until the dough comes together and is evenly combined.
  6. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and place a caramel on top. Add another tablespoon of dough on top of the caramel, and roll the whole package into a ball, making sure the caramel is completely covered by dough. Repeat with remaining dough and caramels.
  7. Place cookies about 3 inches apart on cookie sheets, and bake for 11-13 minutes,  just until golden brown. (It’s OK if they look slightly underbaked; they will continue to set up a bit after being removed from the oven.) Let cool for about 10 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring cookies to wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. (They won’t last that long!)

Notes

If you live in the US, Kraft or Werther’s soft caramels will work well for this. If you live in Europe, Lutti milk caramels work beautifully.

Recipe inspired by and adapted from these caramel-stuffed brown sugar beauties at Carlsbad Cravings, which were in turn adapted from a Cooks Illustrated “Best Desserts Ever” special. I really loved this concept and wanted to incorporate molasses, so my changes are designed to 1.) reduce the sugar and alter the ratio of dry to liquid ingredients to account for the molasses, and 2.) reduce the number of bowls you'll get dirty!

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft, chewy molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

Caramel-stuffed molasses cookies | Soft brown sugar molasses cookies loaded with chewy caramel. Irresistible! #fallbaking #molassescookies

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Kris
    November 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I doubled the recipe because I have College kids who are molasses cookie lovers and I’m sending them back to school with goodies. The first batch was really hard to pry the cookie center from the parchment paper after setting up. Carefully it was mostly a success. But this cookie batter is good on it’s own too (with out the caramel center) so I finished up that way. So what do you think I’ve possibly done wrong with my caramel sticking to the paper – ?

    • Reply
      Monica
      November 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Kris, I’m so sorry you had a bit of trouble! The only thing I can think is maybe the cookie dough didn’t completely cover the caramels on the bottom, and a little bit seeped out and adhered to the parchment. That could be the culprit! I’m glad the second batch was easier and still tasty. I’m sure your kids are appropriately grateful for the goodies – that’s so sweet of you to do!

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    September 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    These looks delicious! I love how simple they are to make and I can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    Ginny
    September 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Wow! That texture looks like my favorite kind for those cookies. Love the caramel too!

  • Reply
    Patty @pattysaveurs.com
    September 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    These look so good with the molasses and hidden goody caramel, will try your recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn
    September 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I just returned from vacation to discover that 5 lbs mysteriously showed up (how DID that happen?) and am all set to correct it and then these showed up! And they are so beautiful and look SO delicious with that caramel oozing out! These will be great treats for upcoming halloween parties. I love that you offer brand recommendations on caramel for bakers around the world!

  • Reply
    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes
    September 24, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Oh no! Now my resolve to eat clean this week is crumbling! These just look too good. Ha ha. Hope you have a great trip!

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