Tasty cookie dough stuffed with creamy caramel and topped with a sprinkling of sea salt. These bars made their blog debut in my second month of blogging back in 2016! If you make it to the end of the post you can see a sneak peek of what they looked like back then!
Three years later and these bars are still one of our favorite recipes! They are perfect to feed a crowd and the salted caramel layer takes them over the top!
I’ve simplified the recipe for you today and added a new tips section. No more browning the butter and I’m sharing my favorite easy caramel option!
I’ve tried several caramel options for these bars, including a homemade one that I surprisingly didn’t love.
- Kraft Caramel Bits – I’ve had the best results with these and it’s what’s I recommend for this recipe. Bonus points, they come in an 11oz. package, which is exactly the amount you need! Target is my go-to place to get them, but other groceries stores in your area may also carry them.
- Wrapped soft caramels – If I can’t find the caramel bits, this is my second choice. I found that the Kraft Caramels are my favorite to use. I’ve tried the Brach’s brand and found them to be softer and I needed to reduce the cream to compensate.
- Homemade Caramel – I was so excited about this option and it melted into the bottom layer of cookie dough! Boo! I love the idea of using homemade caramel, but I haven’t found one that works well with this recipe.
- Let them cool completely. You will be tempted to dig in the minute they come out of the oven, don’t do it. These guys need to be at room temperature before serving, to maintain their structure.
- Use parchment paper that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray. The caramel in these bars is sticky, and this helps you to get the bars neatly out of the pan!
- Buy the caramel bits, if you can find them. If you can’t, see the section on caramel above.
You can check out my previous post for these bars here (I also share my engagement story with Mr. Sam!).
Tasty cookie dough stuffed with creamy caramel and topped with a sprinkling of sea salt.
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 11 ounces caramel bits or 11 ounces caramel squares unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by lining with parchment paper and then spraying with non-stick spray.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until combined. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix). Fold chocolate chips into the dough.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and cream, and microwave for thirty-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
Spread half of the cookie mixture in the prepared pan, pushing with your hands to form an even layer. You can use plastic wrap so the dough doesn't stick to your hands. Pour the melted caramel over the top and spread to cover. Sprinkle with sea salt. Top with remaining cookie dough. (I found it easiest to put golf ball-sized pieces of the cookie dough in between a piece of parchment paper and flatten it into an even layer, then transfer it to the baking pan.) Sprinkle the top with more sea salt.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.
- Let them cool completely before slicing.
- Line the pan with parchment paper that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Buy the caramel bits, if you can find them. If you can't, see the section on caramel above.
Recipe is updated from the Ultimate Cookie Bars I first posted in February 2016.
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