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Caramel Cookie Bars

You'll love incredible salted Caramel Cookie Bars -- buttery shortbread bars with a creamy caramel filling and a sprinkle of sea salt
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel cookie bars, cookie bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Calories 456kcal
Author Chelsea Lords

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened (NOT melted)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 full tablespoon pure vanilla extract) (or 1 full tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 14 ounces unwrapped caramels (I recommend Werther's SOFT caramels)
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Maldon sea salt for topping (optional)

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by lining with parchment paper, leaving enough of an overhang for easy removal. Set pan aside.
  • COOKIE BASE: Add butter (softened, but not melted), white sugar, and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt; mix until just combined. Add in all the flour and mix until just combined and a soft dough forms. Do not overmix.
  • BAKE: Press just a little over half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. (Refrigerate the rest, tightly covered, until it is time to use it). Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
  • CARAMELS: While the base is baking, combine the unwrapped caramels and heavy whipping cream in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Gently stir until melted and smooth, about 5-8 minutes; pour over the cookie bar. Use a spoon to spread the caramel gently to cover the cookie base. Remove the reserved cookie dough from the fridge and crumble the remaining dough into bits and sprinkle it over the caramel.
  • BAKE AGAIN: Return the pan to the oven for an additional 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges; be careful to not overbake. Cool completely at room temperature and then cut into small squares. Store leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the fridge. (We like these best cold!) Sprinkle sea salt on top of bars right before enjoying, if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 24g | Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 548IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg