Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies From Dorie Greenspan

April 26, 2022
36 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland.
  • Prep time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 22 minutes
  • makes 24
Author Notes

As Genius guest host Samantha Seneviratne tells us, "The caramel alluded to in their name comes not from adding caramel to the dough, but from the delicious caramelization of the sugar and butter on the edges of the cookies themselves. Dorie’s genius hack for baking these cookies in a muffin tin instead of on a baking sheet ensures that both the sides and the bottom develop a toasty browned edge that’s full of flavor."

From Dorie, "You won’t find caramel in the ingredient list, yet it’s the flavor you catch with the first bite. The alchemy happens in the oven. Because these slice-and-bake cookies are baked in muffin tins until their bottoms and sides are deeply golden, the butter and sugar brown so completely that they produce the full, nutty, edgily sweet flavor of caramel. A treat! But not the cookies’ only treat. Their texture is a delightful mix of crisp and tender, the sign that they’re shortbread at heart. And the addition of chopped walnuts and small chunks of chocolate means that they could rightly be called chocolate chip cookies, though perhaps ones that lived briefly in France."

Recipe adapted very slightly from Baking With Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple (‎Harvest, October 2021).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Hear more about this recipe from Sam Seneviratne on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes.Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies From Dorie Greenspan
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • ½ cups (100 grams) sugar
  • ½ cups (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) dark or milk chocolate chopped into small chunks
  • about ½ cups (60 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted or not (or more chocolate chunks)
  1. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, both sugars and the salt together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  2. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add the flour all at once. Pulse the mixer a few times, just until the risk of flying flour has passed, and then, working on low speed, beat until the flour is almost completely incorporated, a couple of minutes. Don’t beat too much—you want the mixture to be more clumpy than smooth. Still working on low speed, mix in the chocolate and nuts. Then finish incorporating the chunky ingredients with a flexible spatula.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it to bring it together. Divide the dough in half and shape each hunk into a 6-inch-long log (the rolls will be a scant 2 inches in diameter). Wrap each log well and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. (You can refrigerate the logs for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze them, wrapped airtight, for up to 2 months; let stand at room temperature for about an hour before slicing and baking, or defrost in the fridge overnight.)
  4. WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. (If you can’t fit two muffin tins on one rack in your oven, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds.) Butter two regular-size muffin tins—you can use bakers’ spray, but butter is really nicer for these.
  5. One at a time, mark each log at ½-inch intervals and, working with a chef’s knife, cut into rounds. Place each puck in a muffin cup.
  6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans if necessary, or until the cookies are golden on top, browned around the edges and slightly soft in the center as they’ll firm as they cool. Transfer the pans to racks and let rest for 3 minutes, then gently pry each cookie out with the tip of a table knife and place on the racks to cool. You can serve the cookies warm, but their texture shines brighter at room temperature.
  7. STORING: Kept in an airtight container at room temperature, the cookies will be good for at least 5 days.
  8. A NOTE ON MUFFIN-TIN BAKING: You might be tempted to use a baking sheet, but I hope you won’t—the texture is really best in the muffin tins.
  9. PLAN AHEAD: The dough needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Danni Eldred
    Danni Eldred
  • Deborah
  • Smaug
  • Emily Dee Willis
    Emily Dee Willis
  • jpriddy
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Recipe by: Genius Recipes

37 Reviews

charlenesilver January 7, 2023
This sounded like an extremely new and interesting recipe to try for cookies. However it was underwhelming. The dough didn’t come together whatsoever into a “log”. Rested it for more than a couple of hours and even then slicing it only made the entire slice crumble.

Overall an interesting recipe but lacking in a flavor that balances out the sweetness. I may use this if I am out of eggs and want to make cookies (since this recipe uses none), but it doesn’t make a must have chocolate cookie.
charlenesilver January 8, 2023
I edited my rating of this recipe from 3 to 4 stars. I’m not sure why, but eat this cookie the day after baking it. Not sure if it is because of the shortbread consistency that it is just a cookie that tastes better the day after :)

A day later it reminds me most of Indian biscuits. A good chai time snack.
kyurman November 7, 2022
I made these last night and everyone in my house thought they were delicious. A keeper recipe for sure. I followed the recipe. Did half with milk choc and half with dark choc to please everyone. I used pecans because I prefer them to walnuts and toasted them first. I have a small offset spatula that I used to help lift them out of the pan.

I've read through the comments and may have to try the Lindt choc with a "touch of sea salt" next time. I was thinking that a bit of salt might be fun.

Great recipe. Thank you!
Danni E. October 30, 2022
These cookies look beautiful and will be decent with a cup of coffee or milk. The article made the recipe sound amazing, though, and I think they are just OK, caramel flavor absent. It is nice knowing that I could manage to make a passable cookie without leavening, though.
FireInside December 7, 2022
Most shortbread has no leavening, and shortbread is delicious! Way more than passable.
Shelley F. October 17, 2022
These were so delicious and quite easy to make. Loved using a muffin pan. Will be making these again and again
Deborah June 8, 2022
Everyone loved these. I doubled the chocolate. Skipped the nuts (didn’t have on hand) but will try them with nuts at some point. Made in both metal and silicone muffin pans—silicone ones less browned in same amount of time but still tasty. Made them about 1/2 the thickness the second time—easier to eat and made more cookies! Didn’t find them chewy at all but rather a good shortbread consistency. Didn’t bother to roll into a log. Let the dough rest in the fridge then divided dough by weight and pressed into prepared muffin pans (used baking spray then sprinkled with raw sugar). I think I’ll make the dough without the chocolate next time, chill, then divide and press into pans then add the chips so they are more evenly distributed (press them into the dough).
Annadotes June 5, 2022
This recipe is a pass. I wanted to like it but didn’t. I am an experienced baker and have made shortbread several times. Everything went fine until I went to flip them halfway through baking. They were burning. Not caramelizing. They were in the oven for only 10 minutes on 350. I would recommend a retooling of this recipe.

For a really good caramelized chocolate chip cookie, try America’s Test Kitchen’s Thick and Chewy.
Smaug October 31, 2022
Flip them?
sarah P. June 2, 2022
I don't know where I went wrong but I found these very greasy. All the butter baked out. I have a second log in the freezer and am going to try again tonight.
Trish May 21, 2022
Per instructions, I put the "logs" in fridge. Four hours later, tried to slice through and they crumbled. Perhaps mention 15- 20 min softening time when taking out of fridge? These are not chewy at all. I think more chocolate would be good too. Didn't use nuts. This recipe is not a keeper for me.
Smaug May 21, 2022
I would swear there was another comment on this but it seems to have disappeared; at any rate, the dough needs a "brief kneading" per the recipe; I used fraissage (a similar process that is good with reluctant doughs) and there was no trouble with slicing them.
Step 9 should be step 1.
Smaug May 18, 2022
Does seem a little late to start planning ahead- always a good idea to read a recipe through before starting. Not that I haven't failed to do so on occasion.
Smaug May 17, 2022
I tried a variation on this without chocolate- subbed brown sugar for white, doubled the nuts (I used pecans), skipped the vanilla and added lemon zest and nutmeg. All in all a success; on the sweet side (good with coffee, but I think I'd cut the conf. sugar if I did it again), and a bit of chew that I attribute to the moisture in the brown sugar. If I do it again, I think I'll go for white sugar and maybe brown butter.
Emily D. May 11, 2022
Made it was rye flower and still it was amazing!
Emily D. May 11, 2022
Flour lol
Patsymc May 6, 2022
Made these even more genius by using a buttered non stick mandolin after making a batch with the muffin tins Great reviews
KJules May 3, 2022
I think I've been nominated president of a new fan club. I made these for my gym workers and by the time my workout was finished they were lined up, telling me that these were THE BEST shortbread cookies, disguised as chocolate chips cookies! I followed the recipe exactly as written (except for using salted butter) and I chopped up most of a Lindt Excellence Touch of Sea Salt chocolate bar. (I did weigh the ingredients.) The instructions were crystal clear and I'm very excited about the prospect of doubling the recipe next time so that I can put some of these magical cookie logs in the freezer. Thank you for sharing this recipe; it's definitely going to be a star in my cookie arsenal.
SirVeyza May 18, 2022
Hi. I'm relatively new to baking. I was curious, why you opted to go with the salted butter and salted chocolate off the bat? My first thought was that it would be too salty, but it sounded like they were a hit. (I may have to try the recipe as listed first and then with your saltier version!). Thanks for any insights : )
KJules May 18, 2022
I just find that I prefer salted butter…in everything. But I bet the original recipe will be equally delicious. The Touch of Sea Salt chocolate bar just has a hint and I often use it in my chocolate chip cookies because it tastes so much better than chocolate chips. I bake A LOT. It’s my love language. Hope it becomes one of yours too!
donnajo1 May 2, 2022
Something has to be missing from the recipe ingredients. These come out as hard shortbread cookies. They are nothing like described nor pictured. Food52 please fact check this recipe! Something is off.
Isabella April 28, 2022
Excellent shortbread choc chips. I used double the chocolate & lots of walnuts. To me much better than regular chocolate chip cookies, but I didn’t get the caramel much.
Smaug April 28, 2022
These were pretty good, if not game changing. I was expecting yet another revision of the Toll House recipe but they really don't come off that way. The small amount of chocolate comes across as more an add in than as central to the dish, And I'm none too sure they wouldn't be better without it (remember the Toll House recipe was a popular sugar cookie before someone started adding broken chocolate)- the caramelized sugar is really the star of this cookie- I may try it with more nuts in place of the chocolate. The texture is pretty much as advertised- short bread like and a bit crisp on the bottom. They released from the pan with no problem (I used PAM); I think the main effect of baking them this way is that they can survive the long bake time without burning on top, but small differences in thickness did have a large effect on the final color. I tried one as a lump of dough rather than a slice; it didn't spread nearly as much as I expected, and came out still a bit lumpish- it was quite good, though. The recipe is worth a try-- I now have a muffin pan to wash, but nothing actually stuck to it, so not too bad..
Jenna April 28, 2022
Thank you for the very insightful and detailed account of this recipe and cookie, including the clean-up!
Aditi April 28, 2022
Food52 editors, there's a typo in step 6: "slightly soft in the Makes about 38 cookies center"
jpriddy April 27, 2022
I am ever to bake this recipe, but confused. Just 3 ounces of chocolate? Is that correct? And I am curious about what she calls "shortbread-like texture" of the interior? But she also says the interior is chewy? My shortbread is never chewy.
jpriddy April 27, 2022
Not "ever" but "eager"
Smaug April 28, 2022
I think chewy may not have really been the word she wanted- the absence of egg and the high fat to flour ratio put it in shortbread territory. I have the dough chilling now (though I seriously doubt the necessity of that step) and will bake them this afternoon- the caramelization of the bottom might lend them something of a chewy texture, but I expect more like a snap.
Marcie(Marcia M. May 17, 2022
Hi there, “Smaug”!

If you’re familiar with the King Arthur Baking site, you might like to check out their explanation as to why it’s advisable to refrigerate certain cookie dough batches before baking. It makes a great deal of sense(in my humble opinion.:

Happy baking!
Smaug May 17, 2022
Thanks, I've read a lot of such stuff- Stella Parks and Rose Berenbaum are especially big on it. In this case, I think the purpose is mainly to firm up the dough log enough to cut neatly- I work in a pretty cool kitchen (also use cold butter- some writers object to this, but I simply don't buy the objections) and 30 min. rest was plenty for me.
Marcie(Marcia M. May 17, 2022
Just thought I’d pass it along.
Btw—I’m a HUGE admirer of R. L. Berenbaum. Have and use all her books. But, I’m unfamiliar with Stella Parks. Will check her out! Thank you for mentioning her in your response.
Smaug May 17, 2022
As you may have found out by now, Stella writes regularly for Serious Her "Bravetart" cookbook, about 5 yrs. old, has made quite a splash.
Jen May 27, 2022
Thank you for the link. For decades I have been freezing my chocolate pecan cookie dough in logs to allow for of the moment slicing and baking in the oven or toaster oven. Until this explanation I never technically understood why the cookies that were frozen for weeks or months tasted better. The cold temperature gradually dries the dough, breaks down the flour and concentrates flavor.
Jen May 27, 2022
Marcie, Thank you for the link. For decades I have been freezing my chocolate pecan cookie dough in logs to allow for of the moment slicing and baking in the oven or toaster oven. Until this explanation I never technically understood why the cookies that were frozen for weeks or months tasted better. The cold temperature gradually dries the dough, breaks down the flour and concentrates flavor.
Marcie(Marcia M. May 27, 2022
Hi Jen! My pleasure. When I trip over explanations about WHY something works or is recommended by the pros in baking/cooking, I definitely find those explanations worthwhile and often fascinating. Just my take.
Glad the KA Baking link was worth your time!
Be well, stay safe & HAPPY BAKING!!
Smaug May 27, 2022
Funny little article- without going into the merits of the article, it does state that it's specifically about drop cookies.