When it comes to decadent chocolate desserts, it doesn’t get any better than this!! These salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bars have so many layers of goodness, you’ve got to try them to believe them!
Ooey-Gooey Caramel Cookie Bars
It’s hard to beat a classic chocolate chip cookie!
Unless you add caramel…
Another layer of chocolate chip cookie…
And top it all with rich chocolate ganache!
If there was a competition for the most decadent “guilty pleasure” dessert recipe, these ooey-gooey caramel chocolate chip cookie bars would win hands-down!!
We made these for our good friends a while back as a “thank you” gift. Our friend is a pediatric doctor and is always so generous with answering my sick baby questions at all hours. So she definitely deserves cookie deliveries!
I will admit that I set one bar aside as a tester…you know…to make sure the recipe worked. And trust me…it did!!
These are such a decadent treat! Just imagine, thick, gooey caramel sandwiched between two layers of buttery chocolate chip cookies. Then you top it all with chocolate frosting!
It’s almost too much! Almost…
Salted Caramel Cookie Bars Ingredients
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- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Unsalted sweet cream butter, melted and cooled
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Caramel candy squares
- Heavy cream
- Mini chocolate chips
Kitchen Tools Used
PS – We make healthy desserts too! When I’m being “good,” I love to have a batch of these chewy almond butter chocolate chip cookies on hand. They’re gluten free!
How to Make Caramel Cookie Bars
I promise this recipe isn’t as complicated as it looks! To make it as easy as possible, I broke everything down into sections so you can see how each component is made, then put it all together.
It’s worth it!!
To Make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Whisk together flour baking soda and salt and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars, then add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
- Once all that is good and mixed, start pouring the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing as you go.
- Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
To Make the Caramel
- Add caramels (unwrapped) and heavy cream to a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until caramels start to melt.
- Stir until smooth and remove from heat.
To Layer the Bars
- Press half of the cookie dough into a prepared 9 x 13″ baking dish.
- Pour melted caramel on top and spread evenly, leaving 1/2″ bored all the way around so you can seal the caramel inside with the top layer of cookie dough.
- Scoop remaining cookie dough on top in a few different places. Spread gently with a spatula, starting at the outside and working your way inside, until all caramel is covered.
- Bake 30 minutes at 325°.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache
- Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan.
- When it begins to simmer, pour a bag of chocolate chips into the pan with the cream.
- As chocolate melts, whisk until smooth,
- Remove from heat and pour on top of the cooled cookie bars that are still in their pan.
- Place pan in fridge for about an hour to set.
Can I use pre-made cookie dough?
Yes, you could! I haven’t personally tried this, because it’s pretty easy to make chocolate chip cookie dough from scratch and it tastes so good that way. However, if you want to save time, pre-made dough could be helpful!
The main thing to keep in mind is that you will likely need at least two batches of store bought dough. You want to make sure that you have at least 1/2″ thick layers.
Can I use a jar of caramel sauce instead of making my own?
I strongly recommend making your own caramel from the actual candies to get the best consistency. Caramel sauce in a can or jar tends to be runny, as it is intended as a topping.
These bars are already very gooey, so runny sauce might be TOO gooey and won’t hold the bars together.
Can you freeze these cookie bars?
Sure! Keep them in a freezer safe container and they should last at least a month frozen.
When you’re ready to enjoy, simply allow them to thaw at room temperature. You can also thaw overnight in the fridge.
Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe (Printable Copy)
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Gooey Caramel Cookie Bars Recipe
- 9x13" baking pan
- Mixing bowls
- Electric mixer
Chocolate chip cookie bars ingredients:
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted sweet cream butter melted and cooled (12 tablespoons)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 12 ounces caramel candy squares (about 3/4 of a 1 lb bag, unwrapped)
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Chocolate ganache ingredients:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 bag mini chocolate chips 12 ounce bag
To make the chocolate chip cookie bars:
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter with mixer on low speed. Stop when batter is just combined to avoid over-beating.
- Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
- Add caramels and heavy cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat. As caramels start to melt, whisk together mixture until smooth - about 2 minutes.
- Press half of the cookie dough into a prepared 9x13" baking pan (we used parchment paper), smoothing the top down with a spatula.
- Pour the hot caramel over the cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about ½ inch around the border, so you can seal the caramel inside with the top layer of cookie dough.
- Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Start from the outside and work your way to the middle to help seal in the caramel.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 325°F, or until the top of the bars are a light golden brown.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set.
To make the chocolate ganache:
- Using a small sauce pan, heat up the heavy whipping cream until it begins to simmer.
- Add 1 (12 ounce) bag of mini chocolate chips to a medium mixing bowl. Pour the hot whipping cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for a minute or two. (We use mini chocolate chips for this step because they melt easier).
- When chocolate begins to melt, whisk together with hot cream until smooth.
- Pour chocolate ganache over cookie. If needed, use a spatula to smooth and evenly distribute.
- Optional - melt a small amount of caramel using the same technique above in cake instructions. Drizzle caramel over the chocolate ganache and run a knife through the caramel to give it a swirl look.
- Place into the fridge for an hour to allow the ganache to set.
Pin these caramel filled chocolate chip cookie bars on Pinterest:
More of our favorite cookie bar recipes:
If you like these decadent chocolate chip cookie squares, then you’ve got to try our Homemade Snickers Bars!
Another favorite is our Reese’s Fluffernutter Bars! SOOO good!!
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I’m failing to see where the salted caramel comes into play
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom says
There’s a layer of caramel in the bars — you can use either regular or salted caramels there.