These are THE BEST Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars! There are few things I like more than an easy dessert loaded with chocolate and caramel. And these Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars totally fit the bill. They’re soft and chewy and they start with browned butter and I know you’re gonna love ’em.
What Makes these Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars the BEST?
- Texture. Sometimes cookies in bar form can be dry and crumbly, but these have that soft, gooey texture we love in a regular CCC, but with the ease of throwing it all into one pan.
- Browned Butter. Browned butter takes all of your desserts to the next level. I recommend using a high quality butter like Kerrygold, because it browns beautifully and easily. I have found with cheaper butters, it’s much easier to burn the milk solids.
- Chocolate + Caramel. These bars are loaded with chocolate and caramel, but using the Ghirardelli Caramel Squares makes it super easy to get that caramel bite without the extra step of making your own.
How to Make Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 8X8 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. This is the pan I use. Make sure to leave a little overhang so that the cookie bars can be easily lifted out of the pan after baking.
Brown the Butter.
Add the butter to a small/medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it melt. Don’t stir it, just kind of swirl the pan around until it’s all fully melted. Once it’s fully melted, continue to cook the butter until the milk solids separate from the fat and begin to toast. Swirl the pan around occasionally to prevent the bits from burning. The butter will start to crackle and pop, that’s normal! Once it starts to foam up and quiet down, it’s ready.
Remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a glass to weigh it. Even though we started with a 1/2 C (113g) of butter, during the browning process, the water evaporates and the butter will lose some weight and will probably weigh somewhere between 90-95 g. The recipe still needs 113g of butter, so add about 1 TBSP, or as much as you need to get to 113 g. Let the browned butter cool.
Make the Cookie Dough.
In a large mixing bowl, add the dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cooled browned butter. The butter can be slightly warm, but not hot. Whisk to combine, then add the egg and the vanilla. Whisk until fully incorporated and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold together until mostly combined with a few streaks of flour remaining. Don’t over mix.
Chop the Ghirardelli Caramel Squares and add half of them to the cookie dough along with the chocolate chips. Fold until combined. Pour the cookie dough into your prepared pan and press into an even layer. Top with remaining chopped caramel squares and extra chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes or until the edges just start to brown, but the cookie bars still look slightly wet in the center.
Let cool for about 30-35 minutes, then carefully use the overhang of parchment paper to lift the cookie bars out of the pan, slice and enjoy. For clean slices, be sure to wipe off your knife between cuts. Top with flaky salt if desired.
- Butter. I almost always bake with salted butter, but use whichever you prefer. Also, I like using high quality butter, especially when I brown it first. There’s a higher fat ratio in higher quality butter and it’s much less likely to burn.
- Ghirardelli Caramel Squares. Use the dark or milk chocolate versions, both are delicious. Also, really any chocolate covered soft caramel will work!
- Chocolate Chips. I used a mix of dark chocolate chips and mini semi sweet chips. I like the variety of flavor and texture you get when using more than one type of chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bar FAQs
- Can these bars be made gluten free? I haven’t tested this, but I think swapping the all purpose flour for a 1 to 1 gluten free flour replacement would work just fine.
- How to store them? These cookie bars will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. I recommend microwaving them for 12-15 seconds before eating.
- Can I make these ahead of time? You can prep the dough and freeze it for up to three months. Simply follow the directions as written, then line the baking pan with plastic wrap, press the dough into the pan, and life out. Seal the plastic wrap around itself, wrap the whole thing in a layer of foil and place into the freezer. Bake at 350 from frozen, adding 4-5 minutes to the bake time.
Soft, chewy, and easy-to-make cookie bars loaded with dark and semi-sweet chocolate and pools of salted caramel.
- 1/2 C (113 g) Salted Butter (plus about 1 TBSP)
- 1/2 C (100 g) Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 C (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 Lg Egg, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 C (165 g) All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 C Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (plus more for topping)
- 1/4 C Dark Chocolate Chips, 70-72% (plus more for topping)
- 1 Bag (10 Squares) Ghirardelli Dark (or Milk) Chocolate Squares
- Flaky Salt, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper.
- Brown the butter in a medium sauce pan by melting it and then continuing to cook it until the milk solids turn golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 5-7 minutes. Swirl the pan around as needed.
- Add about 1 TBSP of butter to the hot browned butter so that you have exactly 1/2 C (113g). Let butter cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugars and cooled browned butter until combined.
- Whisk in the egg and vanilla until fully combined and lightened in color, about 2 minutes.
- Fold in the dry ingredients until combined, followed by the chocolate chips and 1/2 of the chopped Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel Squares.
- Press the dough into an even layer in the prepared pan.
- Top with extra chocolate chips and the remaining chopped squares.
- Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown, but the center still looks wet.
- Allow to chill for 30 minutes, then lift the bars from the pan, top with flaky salt, slice, and serve.
Keywords: chocolate caramel cookie bars, caramel chocolate chip cookie bars, dark chocolate caramel bars
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