Salted Caramel and Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

It’s was a wild weekend in this dog filled house. The puppy kept us entertained for hours! That is, until she passed out which happened pretty frequently. Play. Sleep. Play. Sleep. Oh to be a puppy! Right now she is crouched under the bottom shelf of our bookshelf looking around for her tennis ball which she is sitting on. Classic puppy.

Anyway, I hope everyone had an equally exciting weekend (exciting by your standards of course) I wanted to share with you these awesome cookies I made a couple of weeks back when my friends were visiting, as well as look for some advice on caramel. I’ve made caramel lots of times now, but I cannot for the life of me get it to set up. What’s the secret for taking it from caramel sauce, to caramel candy? For this recipe, oooey gooey caramel sauce works just fine, but once I tried to make a shortbread cookie topped with caramel, but the caramel just ran off the sides when it was supposed to stay on top and set up like a chewy caramel candy. Please help! What is your caramel making secret?

Salted Caramel and Coconut Thumbprint Cookies recipe from Authentic Suburban Gourmet 

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Table salt
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Large, flaky fleur de sel 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap or into two balls, then roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. I used a small cookie scoop to ensure each cookie was uniform in size. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. I used the end of a knife to push the dough down. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 ½ C. sugar 
¼ C. water
½ t. lemon juice
1 C. heavy cream
2 t. Grey Salt

Stir sugar, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat; boil without stirring until the mixture turns deep amber brown. This should take about 9 minutes. Take off the stove and hold over the sink before pouring the cream mixture into the sugar mixture. It will boil and bubble. Once calmed down, add grey salt and set back on the burner and reduce slightly over medium low heat for about 8 minutes. Chill until thickened. Put into another container and slightly heat when ready to use.

Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled


  1. says

    These look so amazing. Two of my favorite things, salted caramel and coconut!

    I’m not a caramel expert (and am quite adept at burning caramel), but since I’ve sort of accidentally been making a lot of salted caramel lately, I could share some of my observations about the thickness…

    Most of the consistency comes from when you cook the caramel sauce after you add the cream. Like most candy, it’s all about the temperature you get it to. Most recipes for caramel chews call for heating to between 245-255 degrees F. The caramel filling I made for the chocolate cake was supposed to be right at 238 degrees F, and it was very thick (but not hard like a caramel chew) at room temp. For thinner sauces, you heat it to lower temperatures. Brittle, which has no cream, gets to very high temperatures very easily because of the lack of water from the cream (you’re basically just frying sugar in butter), so when it cools, it is rock hard. Small temperature differences make a big difference in consistency, which is why it is helpful to use a candy thermometer.

    The basic idea is that the higher you heat your sauce, the more water you get out of the sugary meshwork you’re making. The more water you get out, the thicker your caramel will be. When you first make the caramel base (the water, sugar, and lemon), it has very little water in it because the heating that gave you the amber color also got rid of most of that water you added. You then take it off the stove and add the cream, and that gives the caramel back some water and also lowers the temperature of it enough so that the water from the cream can get incorporated back into the caramel matrix to loosen it up. If you just used it like that (without reheating), it would be a very loose sauce because the caramel has a lot of water interspersed within the sugar. As you heat it again, you are removing some of that water that was incorporated into the caramel. Whatever temperature it gets to will determine how much water is left in the final product.

    Hope that helps!

    • says

      You are my hero! Thank you so much for this information. There’s nothing worse than throwing out a bunch of caramel! I recently got a candy thermometer so I’m looking forward to testing these methods. Thanks again for stopping by and helping a gal in need

  2. Robbie says

    So when is the 6T of heavy cream used in this recipe? I’ve read this recipe over and over and either I’m missing it or I don’t see it.

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