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  • Whitney

Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

Two cookie bars shaped my childhood. No other desserts were more impactful to my young taste buds or my childhood memories. The base cookie bar recipe is from my grade school days. Every year, I would be excited for a certain classmate’s birthday because I knew I would be on the receiving end of his mother’s chocolate chip cookie bars. I was introduced later on to the idea of a caramel cookie bar by my sweet neighbor. She had rewarded me with a few squares of her caramel cookie bars after I had done some work for her (more than likely filling her bird feeder for the squirrels or watering her hostas). I couldn’t get enough of either of these cookie bars. With both recipes in hand, I reconciled the two. The product is below.



For the cookie bar base:

  • 2 sticks butter (softened)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

  • 2 1/4 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt for sprinkling on at the end (optional)

For the caramel filling:

  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

  • 10 ounces soft caramels, unwrapped (or use mini caramel baking balls)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13 pan with foil and grease very well. These bars have a tendancy to stick due to the caramel interior.

  2. Cream butter and sugars.

  3. Stir in egg, vanilla, salt and baking soda.

  4. Slowly add flour and combine well. Then, add chocolate chips.

  5. Press roughly half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the foil-lined and greased baking pan. (I often use a little more than half to make sure there is a solid layer of cookie for the base.)

  6. Add sweetened condensed milk into a small sauce pan, and completely melt caramels. Stir frequently to avoid burning.

  7. Pour mixture on top of the pressed cookie dough base.

  8. Drop remaining cookie dough on top of the caramel filling. (It helps to have well greased hands and form flat patties with the dough to drop on the caramel.)

  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center appears slightly set and the edges are browning. The bars will still be very jiggly, but as they cool they will become solid.

  10. Sprinkle sea salt on top if desired.

  11. Allow to cool for at least an hour before attempting to remove. The easiest way to cut them up is to remove the whole bar by the edges of the foil and cut on a separate surface.


The sea salt on top paired with a gooey caramel center really gives this bar a good balance of salty and sweet. I eat way too many of these when I make them. If you are a cookie bar fanatic like me, you will also enjoy my s'more cookie bars.


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