Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

These Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars are pure comfort food!

Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars | crazyforcrust.com | The ultimate comfort food! #brownie #cookie #caramel

Third Grade. The year I cut my hair short, which I’ve regretted ever since.

The year I got my first crush. His name was Brandon and I loooooooved him.

Mrs. McCarthy was my teacher. I learned cursive and how to add and subtract four digit numbers.

We played lots of tag. Freeze tag, line tag, team tag. Melting candlestick in the witches corner tag (or something like that we made up).

it was the first time (of many) that I was “phased out” of a group of girls.

It was the year I got braces…the first time.

Third grade is the first grade I really remember. Sure, I have glimpses of second grade: my teacher, sitting next to my BFF at our shared cubby desk. First grade…the teacher is fuzzy. All I remember of Kindergarten is playing statues on the carpet.

But Third Grade? That I remember.

And it’s going to be what Jordan remembers too. Starting today.

Excuse me while I go cry myself into a puddle over a plate of Brownie Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars.

Hey, I deserve comfort today. As do all you moms who just sent your kids off to school.

Raise a glass of milk, and cheers to comfort bars.

Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars | crazyforcrust.com | The ultimate comfort food! #brownie #cookie #caramel

These bars are seriously comforting. A few weeks ago when I had the week that just wouldn’t end, I made these bars on a whim at the end of a very long, tearful day. I saw leftover Pillsbury peanut butter cookie dough in the refrigerator and I came across a small pouch of brownie mix in my pantry. When reaching for the brownie mix, the caramel bits fell on my head, and boom.

Comfort was born.

These came together in minutes, were in the oven and being eaten in under an hour. I liked them best warm and gooey. But the next day (or the next…or the one after that) they’re good cold. Or heated in the microwave.

These are the perfect comfort dessert.

Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars | crazyforcrust.com | The ultimate comfort food! #brownie #cookie #caramel

I used peanut butter cookie dough because it was what I had. You could use chocolate chip or sugar, or whatever sounds good. I used a small pouch of brownie mix (made for an 8×8 pan) but you can use a regular sized box. See my notes in the recipe for instructions.

Don’t have caramel bits? That’s okay. Use M&Ms. Or chocolate chips…or whatever you like. I grabbed what I had on hand, and man, they did their job. I certainly felt better after a few of these.

Caramel Brownie Peanut Butter Cookie Bars | crazyforcrust.com | The ultimate comfort food! #brownie #cookie #caramel

And I think I may need them again today. Third grade. How does that even happen?

#pleasefathertime #slowtheheckdown

Brownie Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Brownie Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 roll refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough (I used Pillsbury; use whatever brand or flavor you like-it doesn’t have to be peanut butter!)
  • 1 small brownie mix pouch (made for an 8x8 pan) plus water, eggs, and oil called for to make the brownies
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits (Kraft brand, you can find them in the baking section)
  • If you only have a 9x13 pan brownie mix, see note.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Slice cookie dough roll into 1/4” thick slices. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with caramel bits.
  3. Mix brownie mix according to package directions. Pour over caramel bits and spread carefully with a spatula.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean along the edge of the brownies. You can eat these after they’ve cooled about 15 minutes in pan, but they won’t cut easily unless they’ve completely cooled.

Notes

You can make this with a 9x13” pan sized box of brownies. Use the whole roll of cookie dough and 1 cup of caramel bits and use a 9x13” size pan. Baking time might be affected.

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Other brownie goodness:

Mocha Brownies with a Crust

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Vegan Brownies

Vegan Brownies

Sweets from friends:
Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Butterfinger Frosting by Sweet Treats and More
Dark Chocolate Brownie Brittle by Heather’s French Press
Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies by Something Swanky

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Comments

  1. Your story-telling is fabulous in this post. I can’t believe school has started already for some kids. Mine has 3 more weeks yet of summer vacay (and I swear if a President had a hangnail, the school takes off for some President with a hangnail holiday) but I digress.

    These bars. EPIC. Cookie dough, brownies, caramel bits (always have them on hand). They’re so soft and gooey and dense. My perfect bar. Pinned!

  2. These bars are just the thing I need today! They look so gooey and delicious. Yum! :D

  3. All my favorite things in one brownie! Sounds good to me!!!
    Jamie @lifelovelemons recently posted..Healthy Oat Cookies {Vegan and Gluten Free}My Profile

  4. Those 5 words are beautiful: Caramel. Brownie. Peanut-Butter. Cookie. Bars. I didn’t know if peanut butter is considered one word because it is grouped together. :) Anyway, these look amazing and gooey–just the way I love my brownies.
    Madison recently posted..Tone-It-Up Tuesday: 10 Minute Travel WorkoutMy Profile

  5. These look unbelievably rich and delicious!
    Rachel Cooks recently posted..Rhubarb Cardamom Shortbread BarsMy Profile

  6. Love your story for this post! I too really remember 3rd grade and yes, it is crazy how time is flying by!!

    I love the comforting bars and how easy they are! Easy and delicious and comforting are ALWAYS a good combo!
    Tieghan recently posted..Nutella Stuffed Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana and Zucchini MuffinsMy Profile

  7. I’m allowed the brownies, even though I don’t have kids, though, right? Right…? ;)
    Rachel Cotterill recently posted..Lebanese Flatbread with Spicy ChickpeasMy Profile

  8. I am loving that ooey gooey photo! These are my every day work treat.
    Emily @ Life on Food recently posted..Blueberry Cornmeal PancakesMy Profile

  9. This is such a sweet post – in sentiment and treats! I hope Jordan has a wonderfully memorable school year! :) These bars look so moist and fudgy – I want to reach through the computer and grab one!
    Jennifer @ Not Your Momma’s Cookie recently posted..The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones: Rune CookiesMy Profile

  10. You DO deserve comfort! 3rd grade was the year the popular group formed at my school, and I remember it was like a real formation. Like “No you can’t be in the popular group because you have a Barbie lunchbox and those are for babies” harumph.

    Maybe I could use some comfort too. In the form of these brownies because they look so moist and gooey and full of YUM!!

  11. Brownies always make the tears go away. My son is going into the third grade too. I remember all the tag games and it’s fun to see my kids play the exact same games! I think we played Star Wars too and ghost in the graveyard. Everything was so simple in the third grade! These brownies are awesome Dorothy! I think I have to make myself a pan for tomorrow, which is our first day of school!
    tanya recently posted..Chicken With Buffalo Fettucine Alfredo #backtoschoolweekMy Profile

  12. These brownies look wonderful! My daughter starts middle school Monday! I may need a pan of these!
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet recently posted..Mint Chocolate Ice MilkMy Profile

  13. Whoa, these look outrageously delicious!!!

  14. Third Grade…learning my multiplication tables and hating it. A yellow knit sweater I wanted to wear every day. My new puppy. My teacher Mrs. Condon. Doing math at the board (I hated that).

    Coming home to these brownies would make everything better. My baby starts middle school this year…where does the time go?
    Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig recently posted..Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Goat Cheese and Avocado CrostiniMy Profile

  15. I want to faceplant straight into a plate of these and then eat them all. Every.single.one!
    Heather || Heather’s Dish recently posted..Oven-Roasted Honey Garlic Cedar Plank SalmonMy Profile

  16. Ugh the third grade. My memories are coming back too. I had a horrible teacher… my mom and I always comment about that being my wasted year. Love the use of caramel bits. I saw them in the store this week but didn’t them up may have to next time. My husband loves caramel :)
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent recently posted..Peanut Butter HummusMy Profile

  17. back to school requires comfort food…but it would help If I could get comfy in my sweatpants…which I would need if these brownies were in my house
    Heather @ French Press recently posted..Pork Tenderloin Salad for #BacktoschoolweekMy Profile

  18. Aof my favorites in one tasty bar, I love it! I have my tall glass of milk and I’m ready to dive in and devour the entire pan!
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme recently posted..Homemade Granola BarsMy Profile

  19. I am surprised school already started. Back when I was in school, our first day of school wasn’t until after labor day. These bars look delicious though and so easy.
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry recently posted..Original Toll House Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  20. Haha love the story. And LOVE the cookie bars..I’m gonna pin this to make when I need something quick and easy to bring somewhere!
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes recently posted..Peach Crumb BarsMy Profile

  21. Hey, 3rd grade is fun! She’ll love it :)

    These, as always, look SO good!

  22. I’ve been comfort eating here, too. First grade sounds SO much bigger than kindergarten. I don’t know what I’ll do when we get to third grade!
    Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl recently posted..Flatbread Breakfast PizzaMy Profile

  23. I love how this literally fell on your head! Amazingness. I wish something would happen like that to me! I hope your baby girl has a great first day of 3rd grade :)
    Julie @ Julie’s Eats & Treats recently posted..Crock Pot Brown Sugar Pinapple HamMy Profile

  24. Aww 3rd grade! I remember learning cursive too. And multiplication. That was the first time we learned something other than addition and subtraction. (And we had weekly math speed tests too… Sure glad that’s over!) Jordan is going to have such a fun year, and at least you have the house to yourself again! ;) PB, brownies, and caramel are such a match made in heaven. I’d be so tempted to eat the entire pan by myself!
    Amy recently posted..Creamy Green Tea SmoothieMy Profile

  25. OOh WOW! Brownie and peanut butter AND caramel drops!! Trouble!!
    Lyuba@willcookforsmiles recently posted..Boston Cream Crepe CakeMy Profile

  26. This looks & sounds so good!!
    Shari @ Shari Blogs recently posted..Oreo Rice Krispy TreatsMy Profile

  27. Does it get any better than that? Yum!
    Tonia@thegunnysack recently posted..Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream SandwichesMy Profile

  28. I could sink my teeth into one of these right now! That looks deeeeeee-lish!! :)

  29. Awww, I think it’s harder to be a girl sometimes. Girls can be so mean.
    But, then we grow up and get to bake caramel brownie PB cookie bars and we win at life! :)
    DessertForTwo recently posted..Frito Chocolate Chip Cookies {for Amber!}My Profile

  30. Peanut Butter cookie dough? And Brownies? And you added caramel bits?? Oh my! I’m going to have to try these. And I usually don’t do brownies from a mix. Thinking my brownie recipe baked on top of some pb cookie dough will be amazing! And those caramel bits stirred in? Yes!
    My daughter is starting 4th grade on Monday! 3rd grade was when BFF’s really started to matter, and phone calls while playing on the American Girl website, etc. Hoping Jordan has a wonderful year and remembers only to good things!
    BTW, my son is going to be a freshman! He’s playing football with the JV/Varsity team – dropping him off to hang out and swim with seniors? I needed a mom moment.
    Here’s to a great school year for ALL the kiddos! May they NOT be cruel to each other ever. And cheers to the moms who love and support them all year round!
    Thanks for the recipe and sharing 3rd grade memories, Dorothy!

    • I so wish kid cruelty would just go away! My heart hurts thinking that will happen probably this year. Good luck to your son in HS! I am not looking forward to that! Thanks for your comment Larissa!

  31. I agree comfort is best when life is crazy! I can’t believe just how mean girls were and still are! My oldest is a high schooler this year…I need a whole pan of these brownies like now!!!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake RollsMy Profile

  32. These look absolutely heavenly! Third grade can be pretty brutal but I’ve got a feeling Jordan is going to handle herself just fine :)
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted..Chocolate Caramel PopcornMy Profile

  33. These look amazing, and I happen to have some peanut butter oatmeal cookie dough in the freezer and a box of brownies (leftover butterscotch chips that I can’t seem to get rid of too). Quick question: my brownie mix says 40-45 min (for all pan sizes), cookies take only about 10 min to bake. Any recommendations for cook time? Or maybe I should find a new box of brownie mix with smaller cook time? Thanks :)

    • My box of brownie mix was a pouch (Betty Crocker) for an 8×8 pan, so the cooking time was much less than that. The cookies take longer because the brownies are on top of them, so they shouldn’t get over done. You can always make the cookie dough layer thicker too, just in case! I used a 9×9 pan too, when the brownies called for an 8×8 pan so they cooked quicker!

      • Made them, took a chance on the 40-45 min cook time (a little thicker with cookie dough). THESE WERE AMAZING! I will totally be making these from now on (mixing/matching different combos of cookie dough etc). Even out of the freezer, heated 20 seconds, they tasted fresh baked. Thank you for sharing ;)

  34. My guy started 3rd grade yesterday too! So crazy to think they are that old. When I was in 3rd grade I thought I was so big!
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts recently posted..Cheesy English Crumpet BreadMy Profile

  35. These bars could solve all kinds of problems! Love the versatility!
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction recently posted..Salted Caramel Pumpkin Buttercream Frosted Pumpkin BreadMy Profile

  36. Watching the little people get older is wonderful but it’s such a heart-wrench too. My baby started back to school last week and he is in his third year like your Jordan – he’s still a baby! (Don’t tell him I said that. Seriously.) Comfort food? Yes please!
    Louise at Cake and Calico recently posted..Chewy Choc Chip CookiesMy Profile

  37. These look amazing, Dorothy! I could easily down a dozen! :D

  38. All of my favorite things rolled into one brownie!
    Carla recently posted..I Scream Sandwich Cookbook Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  39. Awwwwwww…..good luck to both of you! It’s hard watching our kids grow up, isn’t it? I think these “comfort bars” might help – they could NOT look any better!!! Especially that ooey gooey brownie part!

  40. WOW! That’s a lot of my favorite things all rolled up into one! YUMMMMM!

  41. Third grade was fine for me – I was in a small private school. It was when I moved to public school in 5th grade that kids got mean. I’m not a fan! I hope Jordan has a great year! And for a bad day – these bars look perfect! So gooey!
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar recently posted..Fudgy Brownies with Crunchy Butterfinger CrustMy Profile

  42. School starts next week, I’ll need lots of comfort then! Lots happened to you in third grade…girl drama is worrysome. My daughter also starts third grade..not too much drama with my boys (going to 5th and 7th). I fear that school drama.
    capturing joy with kristen duke recently posted..Printable Kids Lunch Jokes and Brain TeasersMy Profile

    • I totally fear it. We’ve had it for the last two years, but all the girls are split up this year (thank goodness) so I’m hoping it’ll work out. Fingers crossed for your daughter too!

  43. I remember 3rd grade. I had the pretty teacher, and that was the year I got the chicken pox. I started eating dinner three nights a week at the dance studio. And it was the last year before I started being bused to the smart kid school. Those were the days. I could eat a hundred brownies and it didn’t matter. I would love to be eating one of these right now.
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 recently posted..Happy Hour: Soul de CubaMy Profile

  44. I’ll be sending my baby to his first year of preschool on Tuesday… these cookie bars may be a necessary part of my day! Thanks for the amazing dessert, Dorothy!
    Liz Fourez recently posted..How to Make a Faux Roman ShadeMy Profile

  45. Yum, these look and sound amazing!!!
    Crystal recently posted..Apple Pie Muddy BuddiesMy Profile

  46. I hated third grade, my teacher was not fun.
    These bars just look like the best of everything. Yum!
    Meg @ Sweet Twist recently posted..Crockpot Pizza Soup with Cheesy Garlic Croutons #backtoschoolweekMy Profile

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