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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 cookie bars with chocolate chips stacked on top of each other. the top bar has a bite taken out of it.

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.

caramel cookie bars with chocolate chips laying on the counter next to some caramels

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.
  • Salt
  • 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 CaramelsI 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.
caramel chocolate chip cookie bars cut and on the counter next to some caramels

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.

soft caramels and sweetened condensed milk in a pan

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.
caramel chocolate chip cookie bars in the pan before baking

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.

Cookie bars with caramel in the middle on the counter

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.

Pin image for chocolate chip caramel cookie bars

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5 from 33 votes

Caramel Cookie Bar Recipe

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. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 large bars

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (222 g) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (246 g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (230 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (342 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (400 g) 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 (55 mL) sweetened condensed milk
  • sea salt, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • 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 and 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°F (180°C) 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Karli Bitner

This blog is a little glimpse into my kitchen, family & life. I hope you’ll giggle the days away with me and enjoy the craziness that goes on at my house. If you are Cookie obsessed like I am, check out my Sister Site, Cookies for Days.

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Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! Any chance your caramel sauce would work in these??
    Thanks for all the amazing recipes! Have yet to find one we don’t like!

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing! All of your recipes are so good! Wondered if your easy caramel recipe could be used instead of the werthers soft caramels & sweetened condensed milk in these caramel cookie bars? Thanks in advance and thanks for all the wonderful recipes!!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these this weekend and got a 5 star rating from everyone who tasted them! I made them in an 8×11 pan and they were perfect at 30 minutes. Caramel was super easy to make and not fussy.