Desserts Recipes

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I am tired just from typing out that name. I probably need another one of these bars to revive me. Yes, yes, I’m sure I do.

I made these for a party a couple of weeks ago and I was so happy with how they came out – less work than making cookies, but definitely more special feeling, too.

Also, my mom has this funny thing she says that always amuses me – she says she likes the chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts better than the plain glazed because the chocolate cuts the sweetness. I think she’s right, but it’s also kind of hilarious to think about adding something chocolate to make something LESS sweet.

The peanut butter caramel here is the same way. Adding the peanut butter to the caramel keeps it from being just sickly sweet (and it also makes it a little thicker – these aren’t bars that you can’t even cut or that make an enormous mess).

Basically, they’re just fantastic all around.

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
(adpated from The Bite-Sized Baker)

Makes one 9×13 pan (about 24 bars)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

1/3 cup butter (I use unsalted), softened
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

2 cups chocolate chips

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (if your butter is salted, just use slightly less salt)

Peanut Butter Caramel Filling

1/2 cup (4 oz) evaporated milk
11 ounces caramels, unwrapped (or, I just used one of those bags of caramel bits that you can buy near the chocolate chips).
½ cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil, leaving another overhang that you can use it like handles to pull it out.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and
shortening together until combined (about a minute). Add sugars and beat
another minute or two. Add vanilla and egg. Beat again (I know, so much
beating here. . . ).

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Add the flour, soda, and salt. Mix JUST until combined. It will look
over-floured for a few seconds, but should come together fairly quickly.

Press 2/3rds of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until it’s lightly set, but not very brown.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the caramels and peanut butter with the evaporated milk, stirring frequently, until smooth.

When the cookie base is finished, remove it from the oven and pour the peanut butter caramel sauce over the top. Smooth it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the sauce.

Using the remaining cookie dough, spread evenly across the top (it doesn’t need to completely cover the peanut butter caramel layer).

Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cookie dough on top is slightly browned.

Let cool completely before removing from pan and cutting.

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  • Reply Ash March 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I just showed this to my husband who immediately insisted I go out and buy the ingredients to make it. They look amazing! Also, I'm with your mom about the donuts… I always get the chocolate because the original glazed is just too sweet. Anyway, can't wait to try these! Sorry about the paragraph 🙂

  • Reply Cammie Smith March 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Wow, these look incredible! Sunday treat material for the Smith family, for sure. 🙂

  • Reply Amanda Cobb March 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Those look amazing!

  • Reply Rebecca March 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Just reading the name made me drool a little. Pinning these right now.

  • Reply Packrat March 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    These look and sound sinfully delicious. Your mom is right.

  • Reply Emily Kate March 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    This looks so darn delicious. I want some right now.

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy March 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    And again . . . you've posted something my 11 year old would love. Maybe I just need to ship him off to your house for a while. 🙂

    You'll love this: he won his school's OBOB competition and is in the regionals on Saturday. Google Oregon Battle of the Books for more details. Your librarian heart will go pitter-pat.

  • Reply Cassandra March 9, 2013 at 2:07 am

    These look amazing. I am going to make these this weekend! Thanks for the baking inspiration!

  • Reply Aimee March 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    okay just based on the chocolate+peanutbutter+caramel these sounds like the best bars ever! oh my gosh, yum! its only 9 but i want these for breakfast!

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