Gift, Gourmandistanized: Ghirardelli® Dark & [Sea Salt] Caramel Squares™ Cookies

Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel Squares Cookies

A Christmas gift of Ghirardelli® Dark & [Sea Salt] Caramel Squares™ (OK, it’s “Rich Chocolate, Luscious Filling,” but they trademarked the word “Squares”?) could have, we suppose, been enjoyed in the manner intended by its manufacturer: unwrapped and nibbled for “a moment that will carry you throughout your day.” But in Gourmandistan, that would be too easy—and, in yet another instance, Michelle began to think about how to turn a gift into something really, really good.

Michelle wondered what might happen if one used the individually wrapped treats as substitutes for chocolate chips. Steve, always up for a kitchen experiment, tore open each square as Michelle gathered the ingredients for Alice Medrich’s chocolate chip cookies, only without the chocolate chips. She smashed up the dark squares with a knife, scraping the oozing shards into her mix, then portioned and baked the cookies according to direction. The result? Medrich’s already excellent recipe became even better, the crispy, nutty and chocolaty cookies enhanced by random globs of gooey-sweet caramel.

Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel Squares Cookies

To be sure, we repeated the procedure again, with the same delicious results. In the meantime, we learned that the candies can be bought in bars—which certainly saves on unwrapping time.

Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel Squares Cookies

Gift-giving season is now over, so Michelle has almost an entire year to dream about what she might do with another present. As for the rest of you (and, yes, Steve is at the top of this list), there’s almost an entire year to think about what to give her.


  • Servings: about 4 dozen cookies
  • Print

(adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies)

  • 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts, lightly toasted and cooled
  • Two 3-1/2 oz. Ghirardelli Dark & Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Squares bars, frozen, and each square chopped into fourths or sixths

Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl and toss with a fork.

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add granulated and brown sugars, vanilla and salt, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Stir in eggs. Then, stir in flour mixture until just moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate pieces.

Cover and refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Position rack in center of oven.

Remove dough from refrigerator and let soften a bit. Scoop generous tablespoons of dough and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased (not nonstick) cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are brown.

Remove cookies with a thin metal spatula and transfer to a rack to cool.


  1. Just like brownie edges, those cookies look crispy and buttery and delicious. At work we have a ton of leftover Christmas candy which includes a bag of the same Ghirardelli caramel squares. If it’s still there tomorrow, I’m taking it home and making these!

    • I hadn’t had them before. And, if truth be told, I found even the dark ones a wee bit too sweet. It’s rather irrational that the sweet bothers me not in the least when embedded in a crunchy cookie. 😉

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