These dulce de leche stuffed cookies may look quite simple and plain, but there is nothing plain about them! The cookie dough is made with brown butter for an extra depth of flavour, and they have hidden pools of sweet and luxurious dulce de leche inside them. If you enjoy mellow, buttery and caramelised flavours, you will love these!
Quick and easy to make, with crispy and crunchy edges and soft and gooey centres, they tick all of the boxes! One of the best things about this recipe, is the fact that you don't even need an electric mixer to make it!
The cookies are tried and tested crowd pleasers, and will also make a great gift for the loved ones during the festive season!
These stuffed cookies are one of my favourite bakes, and have been in the top 3 cookie recipes loved by the readers for some time, along with my Chocolate Brownie Cookies recipe and Danish Butter Cookies.
I love baking them all year round, but especially during the festive season. That buttery, caramel- like dulce de leche filling is just so extra-special and luxurious, and perfect for an extra indulgence during that time of the year!
There are only 9 ingredients needed to make these utterly delicious cookies. Here's what you will need to gather together for this recipe:
- Dry ingredients - plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt flakes (optional), salt and soft light brown sugar
- Wet ingredients - eggs, butter, vanilla extract and dulce de leche (or condensed milk if you are making your own).
Firstly, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once it's melted, you want to cook it for further 3 minutes, until it starts browning up a bit. When it's done, set it aside for about 10 minutes to cool.
Add the sugar into melted butter, followed by eggs and vanilla. Stir it all until well combined. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix it all until JUST combined. Do not over mix it.
Divide the dough between two bowls, then cover each bowl with some cling film and place it in the fridge for at least an hour.
Hint: Chilling the cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in cookies (butter, in this case). As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough will take longer to melt than room temperature fat. The longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies will spread. It will also produce the cookies with a deeper flavour.
Remove one of the bowls with cookie dough from the fridge, keeping the other bowl in the refrigerator until you need it.
Scoop about one tablespoon of chilled cookie dough and form a little ball with it. Place on the prepared baking sheet, about 5 cm apart (the cookies will spread while baking).
Using the back of the spoon or your finger, create a little well/ indent in top of the ball. (not too deep). Fill it up with ½ teaspoon of dulce de leche then scoop another tablespoon of cookie dough, shape in exact same way and cover the top of dulce de leche filled cookie with it, sealing the edges gently.
Bake cookies in small batches (I place no more than 5 cookies on the baking tray per batch) for about 10 minutes, turning them half way through. The edges of the cookies should be almost golden, but the middle should be still soft. They will set more while they're cooling.
I haven't tested this recipe with any type of glute-free flour, but I believe that it will work absolutely fine.
I use shop-bought dulce de leche for the convenience. Most of the supermarkets sell it these days, and you can find it in the baking aisle. However, if you prefer, you can also make your own, using sweetened condensed milk. Here's how:
Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Place an old kitchen towel in a small saucepan and beneath the can of condensed milk (this will stop the can from rattling). Fill the saucepan with cold water, making sure it comes up to one inch (2.5 cm) from the top of the pan.
Hint: Make sure to keep an eye on the water level at all times. Some of the water will evaporate during the simmering and cooking process, so it's super important to make sure it stays at the required level.
Bring the water to simmer over medium heat, then lower the heat to small and allow it to simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes. Remove the can from the saucepan using the tongs or an oven mitt, being super careful as the can will be VERY HOT!
Allow it to cool completely before opening the can with can opener. Use your homemade dulce de leche as desired!
For some extra tips and methods of making your own dulce de leche, make sure to read this How To Make Dulce De Leche post from Bigger Bolder Baking blog.
Here are few ideas on how you can change this recipe slightly and add some extra flavours and textures:
- Chocolate cookies - replace about 40 grams of flour with same amount of good quality cocoa powder.
- Chocolate chip cookies - add dark or milk chocolate chips to the cookie dough at the very end. For best chocolate chip cookie, use the mini chocolate chips.
- Peanut butter stuffed cookies - if you are not a fan of dulce de leche, use peanut butter instead!
- Add some chopped pecans - for an extra crunch and nutty flavour, you can sprinkle the cookies with chopped pecans before baking them.
- Nutella and dulce de leche stuffed cookies - use the combination of ¼ teaspoon of Nutella and ¼ teaspoon of dulce de leche.
I love sprinkling some sea salt flakes on top of these cookies. Sea salt flakes along with sweet dulce de leche compliment each other beautifully. Adding a sprinkle of salt will also balance out the sweetness of that caramel-like filling.
These dulce de leche filled cookies will taste best on the same day they are made. You can store any leftovers in the airtight container for up to 2-3 days, but they will become softer with time.
You can also freeze shaped, unbaked cookie dough for up to 3 months. To freeze, place the baking tray with cookies in the freezer overnight. Next day, transfer the frozen cookies from baking tray to freezer-friendly bag or container.
If baking from frozen, add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
When making these stuffed dulce de leche cookies, make sure to chill the dough as much as possible. I normally split it into 2-3 batches, keeping the remaining cookie dough in the fridge until I need it.
The dough will soften as soon as you start rolling it into balls when shaping the cookies. Once you rolled and stuffed the cookies, you can place them in the fridge for an extra half an hour. This will solidify the butter more, preventing them from spreading too much while baking.
I would also recommend to use chilled dulce de leche. Simply store it in the fridge overnight prior to making the recipe.
Dulce De Leche Stuffed Cookies
- 2 large baking trays
- baking paper
- 2 mixing bowls
- 170 g unsalted butter cubed
- 210 g soft light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 270 g plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 220 g dulce de leche
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes optional
- Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat allowing it to melt. Once melted, brown the butter gently by cooking it for further 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour browned, melted butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool slightly for about 10 minutes.
- Add soft light brown sugar into melted butter and stir to combine. Add 2 eggs and vanilla and mix well until you have smooth, glossy texture.
- In a medium bowl, combine together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients into the bowl with sugar and eggs mixture and stir until just combined. Cover the dough with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C (170C fan) and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
- Scoop roughly about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and form a little ball with it. Place on a baking tray, about 5 cm apart. Using a back of the spoon (or your finger) make small indents/ wells in top of the dough balls. Fill each cookie with about ½ teaspoon of dulce de leche.
- Shape another cookie dough ball, and make a small indentation in it, just like in the step above. Cover the dulce de leche filled cookies with it and gently seal the edges. Gently press the top of each cookie with the palm of your hand to flatten it. Repeat until you have used up all of the cookie dough. If the cookie dough have become really soft during shaping the cookies, place them in the fridge for an extra 30 minutes before baking them.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning them half way through, to ensure an even bake. They should be barely set in the middle but have golden edges. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt flakes (optional). Enjoy!
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- The amount of cookies you will get may vary, depending on the size.
- Try to work in batches, and keep the cookie dough as chilled as possible. Once the cookies have been shaped, you can place them in the fridge for further 30 minutes. This will allow the butter to solidify more, which will prevent cookies from spreading too much while they bake.
- Store any leftover cookies in the air tight container for up to 2 days.
- Freezing: You can freeze shaped, unbaked cookies for up to three months. Place the cookies on the baking tray, and into the freezer overnight. Next day, transfer frozen cookies into freezer-friendly container or a bag. If baking from frozen, add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
This post was originally published in November 2019. It has been updated with the new photos, tips and revised recipe in October 2021.