Vegan Chocolate Caramel Praline Cookies

One bite, and you’ll know why these cookies are the First Place winner of our 2023 VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest: the soft, chewy texture contrasts with a luscious blend of crunchy chopped nuts and chocolate, topped with a pool of rich chocolate praline filling, and crowned by irresistibly gooey salted caramel.

VegNews.ChocolateCaramelPralineCookies.HANNAHKAMINSKY.VERHannah Kaminsky

What you need:

For the cookie dough: 
½ cup vegan butter, at room temperature
1 cup coconut sugar
1½ tablespoons almond butter
2½ tablespoons vegan milk
2 cups all-purpose flour 
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup roasted and chopped almonds
¼ cup roasted and chopped Brazil nuts
½ cup chopped dark chocolate bar

For the chocolate praline:
½ cup fine sugar
1 cup chopped dark chocolate bar

For the coconut caramel:
½ cup canned coconut cream
¾ cup coconut sugar 
1½ teaspoons vegan butter 
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or agave nectar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup roasted and chopped almonds

VegNews.ChocolateCaramelPralineCookies.HANNAHKAMINSKY.CLOSEHannah Kaminsky

What you do:

1. For the cookie dough, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Into a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add almond butter and milk, and then add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until fully combined, and stir in almonds, Brazil nuts, and chocolate. Roll dough into 1½ tablespoon balls, and place on prepared baking sheet.
2. For the chocolate praline, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Into a saucepan over low heat, melt sugar until it turns an amber color. Onto parchment paper, pour sugar, and allow to harden. Once completely cool, break into pieces. Place into blender, and blend to create a praline paste.
3. Into a double boiler, melt chocolate. Add praline, and stir to combine. Onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spoon chocolate praline to create 1½-inch discs. Place in freezer to harden.
4. For the coconut caramel, in a pan, place coconut cream, sugar, butter, brown rice syrup, and vanilla, and cook until it reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in almonds.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To assemble cookies, slightly flatten cookie dough balls, and place chocolate discs on top. Fold dough over praline to prevent it from dripping. Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool before scooping a dollop of coconut caramel on top. Sprinkle with flaky salt if desired.

For more award-winning vegan holiday cookies, read: