Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cookies | Sarah Wyland

[Recipe] Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cookies (Gluten and Dairy-Free)

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cookies | Sarah Wyland

Let me tell you about these chocolate caramel sea salt cookies.

A couple of years ago, I took these cookies everywhere after getting the recipe from a friend. I baked them for book clubs and work potlucks. I took them to Airrosti as a thank you for treating my foot injury and to Knox’s vet’s office as a thank you for being great with not just him, but my dad’s dogs and cats. I took them to a Fourth of July picnic, baked them for a girls’ night with my then roommate, and distributed the leftovers at The Gym the next day.

These cookies were a hit no matter where I took them. Friends wanted the recipe, they were requested from time to time, and, bonus, they’re also gluten and dairy free. But, I have a tendency to get bored with a recipe and shelf it for a while, which is what I did with these cookies.

Recently, a friend hosted a Girl Scout cookies and beer party and asked me to bring cookies (my baking reputation has followed me to Chapel Hill). I wanted something a little different than Girl Scout cookies, and these Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt cookies came to mind.

Except – I couldn’t find the recipe.


I looked through old blog posts. I searched my email. I dug through my Google Drive. I posted a cry for help on Facebook and Instagram, asking friends to send me the recipe if they still had it. I had a lot of “those cookies are so good!” but no one seemed to still have the recipe lying around, not even the friend I got it from in the first place. I googled, and while I found similar recipes, I couldn’t find this recipe.

Over the course of a day, I remembered the ingredients that went into it. I couldn’t remember the quantities, but I came up with the ingredient list – almost like I conjured it out of thin air because these aren’t the standard base recipe for cookie dough – and jotted them down. I was willing to wing it and see what happened.

At home that night, I decided to take one last crack at finding the recipe before I started tossing ingredients into a bowl to see what happened. I searched my email again and somehow, someway, through the right combination of words, came up with HTML that had the recipe in it. It seems like I once sent a guest post to a now defunct blog featuring this recipe. I deciphered it as best I could, filled in a few blanks, and on Thursday night, high off of a snatch PR at barbell club, made the dough and hoped for the best.

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cookies | Sarah Wyland

The best was better than I remembered.

Without further ado – because I’ve already rambled far too much and I hate when food bloggers do that posting a recipe – here’s how to make the best gluten and dairy-free chocolate caramel sea salt cookies you’ll ever eat.


  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt Sea Salt
  • Caramel


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper*
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips, stirring every 30 seconds – will take a minute to a 90 seconds to melt entirely. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  3. In another bowl beat whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar for about a minute to form a marshmallow cream-type mixture
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cup sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch to blend.
  5. Add dry ingredients into the marshmallow cream mixture and beat on a low speed until well-blended.
  6. Add the remaining chocolate chips from the bag to the melted chocolate, then add to the mixture; blend until combined – dough will become dense.**
  7. Place remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball, then roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet spacing 2 inches apart
  8. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt as desired.

* I highly recommend using parchment paper for these; I didn’t realize I was out of it until I started to bake, and while they turned out fine without it, the cookies tend to stick to the pan.

** If the dough still doesn’t seem thick enough after adding the chocolate, add more chocolate chips and/or powdered sugar in small increments until you can form balls easily. You can also try popping the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Full disclosure, these cookies are messy to make. There are three bowls, pans, a mixer, measuring cups… And I don’t know about you, but anytime I use powdered sugar, it seems to end up everywhere, no matter the lengths I take to contain it. But if you’re looking for a delicious, chocolate cookie – and/or if you have gluten/dairy-free friends – these are your cookies.

You can also steer away from caramel and even skip the roll in sugar and have just chocolate cookies. Or, melt and drizzle peanut butter instead of caramel. And I haven’t tried this, but you could also swap out the chocolate chips added to the melted chocolate chips for peanut butter chips. It might be a bust, but it could work!

These cookies are gooey and delicious and I bet you can’t eat just one. I sure can’t.

And since they’re gluten AND dairy-free, they’re healthy, right?


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