Chocolate chip cookies meet caramel in these soft Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars! These bars have a layer of soft and gooey caramel baked in the center, so every bite is a decadent treat.
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Where do I start with these cookie bars? There are so many things to love about them – they are from-scratch chocolate chip cookie bars stuffed with caramel that bake up into about the most perfect cookie bar ever. Chocolate caramel fans: this one’s for you!
EPIC Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Each of these caramel stuffed cookie bars has a layer of ooey-gooey caramel sauce sandwiched between the crust and topping. It’s like taking the best chocolate chip cookie and stuffing it with caramel but so much easier because they’re cookie bars – you don’t need to roll dough balls and try to stuff them.
You can also customize this recipe a few ways by adding nuts to the dough, adding more chocolate chips to the filling, or making salted caramel cookie bars. I’m sharing all the details in the post.
I’m sure this goes without saying, but these chocolate chip cookie bars with caramel are the absolute best treat to make for a crowd. Think potlucks, parties, and holidays. They always get rave reviews!
Butter: Like many of my chocolate chip cookie recipes, I star this one with melted unsalted butter. Omit salt if using salted butter.
Sugar: Use a combination of granulated sugar and packed brown sugar.
Large eggs: I always buy large eggs so make sure you are buying the right ones.
Vanilla Extract: For flavor
Baking Soda: Creates a soft and chewy cookie.
Salt: Needed if using unsalted butter. You can also add some kosher or sea salt to finish the bars – make them salted caramel cookie bars!
All-Purpose Flour: Be sure to measure it correctly. We’ll use this in the cookies and in the caramel layer.
Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chips are what I used but you can use your favorite.
Caramels: See below for more info, but I used Werther’s Originals Chewy Caramels.
Heavy Whipping Cream: To help thin the caramel.
Best Caramel for Cookie Bars
Before we get to the steps, let’s talk caramels because they are not all created equal. I’ve tested all kinds of caramels for this recipe and have a few options to share so you can make the best caramel filling.
These caramel cookie bars work best with Chewy Werther’s, Kraft Squares, or you can also use Kraft Bits. These types melt like a dream and have the best texture in the bars.
How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Caramel
- Combine the melted butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth. You can use a mixer, but it’s easy to mix by hand. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract before stirring in the baking soda and salt.
- Next, slowly stir in three cups of flour, mixing just until the batter comes together.
- Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
- To make the caramel filling, place the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat them on high power for one minute and then stir. Heat them again in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until the caramels melt and you have a smooth sauce. Once you have your smooth sauce, stir in one tablespoon of flour.
- Press half the batter into the bottom of the prepared 9×13” baking pan. Then pour the mixture over the dough in the baking pan. Leave a small border around the edge. Break off pieces of the remaining dough and use your hands to flatten them. Place the pieces on top of the caramel in the pan, so the surface is covered. Press the edges of the dough to the bottom dough to seal. It’s okay if some caramel is peeking through the dough on top. It doesn’t need to be covered entirely.
Tip: If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the caramels in a pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Just stir until the caramels have melted into the cream.
How Long To Bake Caramel Cookie Bars
Bake the bars for 30 to 35 minutes at 350°F, or until they are lightly golden around the edges and on top. Allow them to cool before slicing.
These are amazing just as they are, but you know me – there’s always room for some mix-ins! So, feel free to give these ideas a try if you want to switch them up.
- For some texture and extra flavor, sometimes I mix some chopped nuts into the dough. Chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, or peanuts would work great!
- For a chocolate twist in the filling, add some chocolate chips to the caramel filling. Once you’ve poured the caramel mixture over the dough, sprinkle some chocolate chips over the top – dark, milk, semi-sweet, or white chocolate chips all work.
- Sprinkle some sea salt or kosher salt into the caramel to make salted caramel bars.
FAQ For Making These Bars
Any chewy caramel will work in this recipe, like Werther’s, Kraft squares, or Kraft Caramel bits. However, I don’t recommend using Werther’s Soft Caramels for this recipe.
It’s so easy! Technically, they’re not “stuffed’ but layered. The caramel filling is poured over the crust and then topped with more dough. When the bars are baked, the caramel stays inside, creating a stuffed appearance.
Yes, when you combine the caramels and cream, add a teaspoon of salt to make salted caramel.
Store your caramel cookie bars at room temperature in an airtight container. You can keep them in the refrigerator, too, but the caramel will harden up, so leave them out to soften before serving if you do this.
Yes, allow them to cool completely and then slice them. Wrap the bars and store them in a freezer bag or container. They will keep for up to a month. Then, thaw them at room temperature.
If you’ve never made homemade chocolate chip caramel bars, this is the only recipe you’ll need to try! After one bite with that chocolate caramel combo and you’ll be hooked. I know you will love them!
More Cookie Bar Recipes To Try
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Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter melted
- ⅔ cup (134g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200g) brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (372g) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (510g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 10.8 ounce bag Werther’s Originals Chewy Caramels, unwrapped
- ⅓ cup (79ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place melted butter in a large bowl. Add granulated and brown sugars and stir until the mixture is smooth. You can use a mixer if you prefer but it’s easy to do by hand.
- Stir in eggs and vanilla extract, then stir in baking soda and salt. Slowly mix in 3 cups flour and stir just until the batter is smooth and comes together. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Press half the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Place caramels and cream in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power for 1 minute, then stir until the cream mixes into the melted caramels, heating in additional 30 second increments until caramel is melted and smooth. You can also do this in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Stir remaining 1 tablespoon flour into the caramel. Pour caramel mixture over cookie dough in pan, leaving a small border around all the edges.
- Break off pieces of the remaining dough and flatten between your hands. Lay on the top of caramel. Continue until the entire pan is covered, pressing the edges to seal them together. The cookie dough won’t make a solid cover and a little of the caramel may peek through.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the bars are light golden around the edges and on top. Cool completely before slicing.
- You can use any chewy caramel in this recipe (Werther’s or Kraft squares, or Kraft Caramel bits). I do not recommend using Werther’s Soft Caramels for this recipe.
- Feel free to add nuts to the cookie batter or add chocolate chips to the filling!
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
These Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are soft, gooey and so delicious! They are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth you have.
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: October 5, 2021