Perfectly sweet and gooey caramel sandwiched between layers of chewy and buttery chocolate chip cookie bars. These cookie bars are simpler than they seem but always feel like a special occasion.
Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Are you looking for a truly decadent dessert that seems complicated enough to impress the toughest critic, but is easy enough for a beginner to make? Then look no further, because you have found it!
As a lover of all things cookie and caramel, case and point, Twix Cookies, Salted Caramel Cookies and Caramel Brownies, these caramel chocolate chip cookie bars are the dessert fusion I absolutely needed!
I know, I am known for cookies, but cookie bars are even easier! There is no scooping, no rolling and no frosting! If you like cookie bars, you have to give these Oatmeal Fudge Bars and 7 Layer Bars a try.
Ingredients for Caramel Cookie Bars
- Butter- You can’t beat real butter in cookies! The flavor the butter gives the cookies is just unreal! Just make sure the butter is softened enough to cream well with the sugars.
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar- The combination of 2 sugars give a wonderful depth of flavor, and the brown sugar keeps the cookie moist and chewy.
- Egg– Just one for this recipe!
- Vanilla– Use your favorite brand.
- Flour- All purpose flour is perfect for this recipe.
- Baking Soda
- Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate- Just use your favorite chocolate. Milk or semi-sweet, this one is bakers choice! I like big chunks of chocolate in my bars so I tend to buy bars of chocolate and chop them up myself but you can definitely use chocolate chips!
- Soft Caramels– I like using the Werther’s brand of Soft Caramels with this recipe. It is important that they are the soft ones so your caramel stays nice and gooey after baking.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Sea Salt (for garnish)- This ingredient is optional depending on if you want salted caramel flavor or not.
How to Caramel Cookie Bars
Start by preheating the oven to 350°. Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with parchment paper or spraying it with non stick spray.
Pro Tip: If using parchment paper, crinkle the parchment paper into a ball and run it under water. Dry it off with a paper towel and then line your pan. This will make the process so much easier!
Measure out the chocolate and set aside as you begin to make your cookie dough.
With your stand or hand mixer, cream together your butter and sugars. Keep mixing until the butter and sugar are smooth, about 2 minutes, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. You will want to keep mixing until it is light in color and creamy. Now add your dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until just combined. Fold in your chocolate chips being careful not to overmix.
In a medium sauce pan, cook the caramels and sweetened condensed milk over medium heat until nice and smooth. Remove the caramel from the heat and set aside.
Assembling the Cookie Bars for Baking
- Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the caramel over the bottom cookie layer.
- Take large pieces of the remaining cookie dough and flatten them in your hands and place them on top of the caramel layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until the tops begin to turn a golden brown and the center is set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
Allow the cookie bars to cool completely before cutting. This step, as hated as it is by me, is super important. If you cut them while they are still hot, the caramel will spill and spew everywhere.
Cut into desired portions and serve.
How to Store Leftover Cookie Bars
The bars will stay good at room temperature for up to 3 days when kept in an air tight container.
Can I freeze the Cookie Bars?
Absolutely! They freeze wonderfully. I would suggest cutting them into your desired serving size and then placing the bars onto a cookie sheet, leaving a little room in between each bar, and freeze for about 1 hour and then place them all in a zip top freezer bag for storage.
We do this so all of the cookie bars don’t stick together in the freezer. They won’t stick together if they are already frozen before we put them into the bag.
Can I double the recipe?
Definitely! If you want to double the recipe, you’ll want to use a 9×13 pan instead of a 9×9 square pan.
More Bar Recipes
- Classic Brownies
- Peanut Butter Bars
- Indoor S’more Bars
- Chocolate Oreo Cookie
- Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Crumbl Copycat Recipe Roundup
Caramel Cookie Bar Recipe
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolate use your favorite (I like a combination of milk and semi sweet)
- 40 Werther's Soft Caramels (this is 2 small packages)
- 1/2 cup sweetened condesned milk
- sea salt optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with parchment paper or spraying it with non stick spray.
- Measure out the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate into a bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth, light in color and fluffy. This will take a few mintues.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in the egg add vanilla.
- Once completely combined, stop the mixer and add in the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Start mixing slowly, once the flour mixture is about half way incorporated into the dough, pour the chocolate chips/ chopped chocolate into the mixer and allow everything to mix together.
- Stop the mixer as soon as the flour is completely incorporated. Avoid over mixing. Set the cookie dough aside.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir to combine the caramels and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Divide the dough in half and press half into the bottom of your prepared 9×9 pan.
- Pour the caramel mixture on top of the cookie dough. Spread until evenly covered.
- Take large portions of the remaining cookie dough, flatten them in your hand and then place on top of the caramel.
- Bake in your 350° oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the center is just set.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
- Let the cookie bars cool COMPLETELY before cutting.
- Cut the bars into your desired size and serve.
- Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
I had to bring a dessert for a birthday party, I made these and doubled the recipie. Easy and YUMMY, they were the hit of the party. I look forward to trying your other recipies.
Just finished baking, they look fantastic. How long did it take for them to fully cook?
I just finished making our second batch this week. Every single person who has tried this is blown away. They’re AMAZING and really not too hard to make!
Hi. I have Peter”s soft Caramel in the brick. Do you know how many ounces or grams of caramel “2 packages” would be? Thanks
So deleicious! You’re recipes never let me down!!
Karli Bitner says
It would be 9 oz. 🙂
I’ll need to try this recipe again. I put to much caramel mixture in the middle. I did 11 ounces of caramel with the sweetened condensed milk. So the caramel kinda went to the bottom. Maybe next time it will turn out.
Could the werthers chewy caramels be used instead of the soft caramels? We dont have the soft ones in Australia
Karli Bitner says
That should work fine!
Can I make the cookie dough the night before and keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to bake?
Absolutely amazing, gets better every time I make them. It’s my new signature dish that EVERYONE loves
Karli Bitner says
That should be fine! Just let it come up to room temperature before baking.
Kendall B says
So so good! Everyone loved them especially with the thick layer of caramel. The only thing I changed was using brown butter just to give it more depth of flavor. Definitely recommend this recipe!
I literally dreamed about these. That caramel pull in the video Karli posted. Just wow. They were better than I thought they would be! I just have to say I trust all of the recipes from Karli- they’ve consistently been good.
Tara Echave says
So good!! Easy too.
Tara Echave says
Woman. When I tell you these are perfection…I mean perfection.
I bake all the time and force my coworkers and employees to help me eat them since I live alone. These were an absolute hit and have been remanded to permanent rotation.
Made them exactly as you said but sprinkled the top with pecans.
The caramel is INSANE. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!