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Chocolate Chip Cookie and Caramel-Peanut Butter Bars

September 7, 2011

The other day, I drank a homemade Vanilla Latte a little too late at night and I was up tossing and turning until 2AM with one thing on my mind, layered cookie bars. #Riskyfat. For my own self respect and waist line, I waited until the following day to bake my masterpiece.

Although I love over-the-top desserts, I wanted to bake something that everyone would love… Mostly so that I wouldn’t eat it all by myself… But I wanted to be nice, too. ;)

Since making Knock You Naked Brownies I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them. Something about that gooey, delicious caramel layer was magical and I wanted to recreate it. Except this time with a little extra pizazz… Peanut Butter! Fact: Peanut butter always makes things taste better (i.e., toast, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, brownies, ice cream, fruit, etc.)

As I said before, I didn’t want this dessert to be too over the top, so I decided to sandwich that heavenly mixture of caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate in between two layers of chocolate chip cookies. Simply amazing.

Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 ¼  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Caramel-Peanut Butter inspired by The Pioneer Woman:

½ cup Evaporated Milk

60 whole caramels, Unwrapped

½ cup peanut butter, melted

1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F and grease 9 x 13-inch jelly-roll pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  3. Spread half of cookie dough into prepared pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with ½ cup evaporated milk.
  5. When melted and combined, add ½ cup melted peanut butter and pour over cookie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
  6. Turn out remaining cookie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and edges are set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen bars.
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89 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2011 6:50 pm

    These look so amazing! That oozing caramel? Holy yum!

    • September 12, 2011 8:44 am

      Thanks, Jessica! I love your blog and I’m dying to try some of your recipes (especially your banana cake)!

  2. November 15, 2011 6:14 pm

    Oh my goodness – I think I just binged through my eyes. These look amazing!

  3. kajo permalink
    November 29, 2011 6:13 pm

    When during these instructions do we divide the dough in half? I have read the recipe several times but can’t seem to find that step.

    • November 29, 2011 7:57 pm

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention! I fixed it in the directions, but in Step 3 you spread half of the dough into the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes! Hope that clears it up!

    • March 23, 2013 3:27 pm

      How many times did you read step #3?…

  4. December 1, 2011 9:12 pm

    Divine

  5. Breana Anderson permalink
    December 4, 2011 3:23 am

    They look amazing. Can we use premade COokie dough

    • December 4, 2011 9:04 pm

      Yes, you can. I’ve made them with premade cookie dough before and it was a real time-saver and it tastes just as delicious!

      • Breana Anderson permalink
        December 5, 2011 9:54 pm

        Thank you so much!! I cannot wait to make them :)

  6. December 5, 2011 9:00 pm

    A 15×10 was way to big for the recipe. I recommend using a much smaller pan – a 9×13 would’ve been better. Also, getting the top layer on was a nightmare. I ended up putting spoonfuls on top and it worked out fine & much easier. They are yummy, but I recommend using the pre-made dough.

    • December 5, 2011 9:05 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Cat. I’ll make the adjustment to the recipe! :)

    • Kari permalink
      March 1, 2012 12:06 am

      i think i might try to “roll” the top layer before layering on … like a top crust of a pie : )
      these look DIVINE!

  7. stillawallflower permalink
    December 6, 2011 11:24 am

    I cannot wait to try these!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. December 7, 2011 12:09 pm

    Looks like a great recipe for Christmas baking.

  9. Dena permalink
    December 16, 2011 1:57 pm

    These are in my oven right now…had to share a little tip for the top layer of dough: I used pre made cookie dough, but either way would work. I laid a piece of wax paper down on my cutting board and pressed the dough out on it. No need to try to lift the dough off with a spatula. I simply turned in over on top of the caramel layer and peeled back the wax paper…so easy and mess free!

  10. January 24, 2012 6:08 pm

    Oh my, these look amazing. I’m almost afraid to try them….

  11. January 24, 2012 8:20 pm

    You totally have my taste in desserts, I love how you call THIS recipe “not too over the top”- haha! I’m always making things that are way too sweet/intense for everybody else, you know, the ones that everyone says “you can only have a TINY slice” when I’ve just downed 2 large pieces :) Thanks for the recipe!

    • January 24, 2012 11:01 pm

      I could not agree more… I am always the one finishing off everyone’s leftover desserts. Sad story but true life.

    • Jen permalink
      February 10, 2012 10:24 am

      This made me seriously laugh out loud. I’m the same way….finishing a couple pieces of something other people could only take “a few bites” of. :) Can NOT wait to try these. Making a special trip to the store today for the ingredients.

  12. Rosie permalink
    February 15, 2012 12:30 am

    Can’t wait to try

    • February 16, 2012 7:46 am

      I think I need to create another version of these bars since they are such a hit among friends, family, and readers!

  13. jill permalink
    March 29, 2012 7:32 pm

    Can I use milk chocolate chips or won’t the bars taste as good?

    • May 10, 2012 11:31 am

      Whatever type of chocolate you prefer works! Milk chocolate will just make it sweeter so perhaps cut the bars in smaller portions? However smaller portions just means more servings for me… :)

  14. Vera permalink
    April 4, 2012 2:36 pm

    Yum

  15. sherry permalink
    April 19, 2012 3:41 pm

    seen another recipe like this only they sprinkled kosher salt on top of the carmel was salted ch chip carmel bard

  16. sherry permalink
    April 19, 2012 3:43 pm

    *bars

  17. Rhiannon permalink
    April 20, 2012 11:54 am

    Wondering if you can use caramel sundae syrup instead of 60 caramels and how much would you use?

    • May 10, 2012 11:29 am

      Hi Rhiannon, I somehow managed to skim over your comment until now– my apologies! If you’re going to use caramel sundae syrup I would recommend not mixing it with the evaporated milk since it’s already in a liquid state. Also, 60 caramels typically ends up weighing around 6 oz., but too much caramel is never a bad thing in my opinion! Hope that helps and let me know how it turns out!

  18. Amanda permalink
    May 10, 2012 10:54 am

    For those that used the premade cookie dough, did you use just 1 tube?

    • May 10, 2012 11:25 am

      Hi Amanda, I actually JUST made these cookies last night using two packages (33 oz. total) of the Nestle TollHouse Break and Bake Cookie Dough. The cookie dough rolls/tubes are also 16.5 oz., so just use two! Also, I recommend using the Break and Bake because they’re easier to spread out but whatever you prefer. Hope you love them! :)

  19. Linda permalink
    June 4, 2012 5:26 pm

    I had trouble getting the second cookie layer right the first time I made these. The second time I used a 9 x 13 pan with a cover. I put waxed paper on the lid, spread the dough onto the waxed paper and flipped it onto the caramel layer. Easy peasy.

  20. June 15, 2012 10:06 am

    I have made this a few times and they are LIFE CHANGING delish!! i’m trying to figure out a way to make it with only caramel in the center (quicker and no peanut butter)… i have a peanut butter hater in this fam (gasp!!! i know….). would you just do caramel with evap milk???

    • June 15, 2012 6:08 pm

      Thanks for the compliment! And yes, you would just omit the peanut butter and prep the caramel as normal!

  21. katey permalink
    June 16, 2012 5:50 pm

    Smelling yum in the oven…. I was able to pat the top layer on a sheet of parchment that I srayed with crisco spray, and I “patted” it with a snadwich bag that I also sprayed with Cricso. I laid the sheet on top of the carmel and it was no issue to get it off. Can’t wait to have a taste!

  22. Lisa permalink
    June 23, 2012 9:05 am

    Just made these…think I may stay home and eat the lot! Too scrummy. I used Dulche de leche mixed with peanut butter instead of making my own caramel, and it worked fine. Thanks for such an inspiring blog!

  23. Breana Anderson permalink
    June 23, 2012 5:43 pm

    Can we use Mrs. Richardson’s caramel topping instead of melting all the caramels? I don’t have a double boiler.

  24. Cindi permalink
    June 26, 2012 4:48 pm

    I am going to try these for sure! Just FYI….your print link sucks! I printed and got all of the comments and pix too :( 9 pages …..that’s a waste!

    • June 29, 2012 2:23 pm

      Hi Cindi, unfortunately I run my blog off of WordPress so I have no control of the print link. I would suggest you preview it and only print the page with the recipe in the future though.

      • Nancy permalink
        July 11, 2012 2:12 am

        How do you do that? I had 12 pages print. Someway to just get the recipe????

      • July 11, 2012 7:41 am

        Hi Nancy, unfortunately I host my blog off of WordPress and there is no option to print only one portion of the post. I’m sorry! I would suggest clicking Print Preview before you print to select the page with the recipe.

    • October 3, 2012 5:32 pm

      You Can hi-light just the recipe & click print selection on printer box & only that in blue will print.

      • AngiMW permalink
        March 1, 2014 8:08 am

        or copy and paste into a word document of your choice!

        Can’t wait to make these!

  25. Anne permalink
    July 9, 2012 11:00 am

    Made these last night the cheater way with the tips from the commenters with Nestle cookie dough and caramel ice cream sauce…they were a huge hit! I can’t wait to try them from scratch!!!

  26. Kaitlyn Styles permalink
    July 19, 2012 1:44 am

    I am in LOVE with these! I made them, and they are DELISH. It took me a while to make, but you will not regret making these.

  27. kim permalink
    July 19, 2012 10:49 am

    Love it

  28. July 24, 2012 10:06 pm

    Just finished this topped with vanilla ice cream. Yummmmm! My hubby and kids all loved them! Thank you!

    • July 25, 2012 8:55 am

      Pairing this with ice cream?! That is genius.. Why have I never thought of that! Sounds like a dessert with my name written all over it!

  29. Barbara permalink
    July 27, 2012 3:02 pm

    Waiting to cool…waiting to cool…waiting to cool….aaarrggghhh!!

  30. Nancy permalink
    September 19, 2012 7:23 pm

    This has to be one of the best recipes I’ve ever made!!!

  31. Linda permalink
    September 22, 2012 11:07 am

    Your recipe instructions in step 2 say “Stir in morsels and nuts.”; however, no quantity or type of nuts are listed. What type & how much, please.

    • September 22, 2012 6:02 pm

      Hi Linda, sorry for the confusion! I used the original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which suggests nuts as an optional add-in! The original recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts (your preference, I would recommend walnuts though), but I’ve never used nuts in this recipe, I’m sure it would be delicious though if you chose to!

      • Linda permalink
        September 22, 2012 8:06 pm

        Thanks, I have always used pecans in my CC cookies. I know that these will be just too yummy

  32. suezq permalink
    October 4, 2012 7:58 am

    To get just the recipe, I drag and high light just the recipe and right click on the blue. Then click on ‘copy’. then go to my ‘Word’ documents and open a new window. Right click on the blank page and click ‘paste’, from there I can print. Hopes this can help someone.

  33. Francesca permalink
    October 8, 2012 10:43 pm

    Hello! I havent understand: you bake the first layer of cookie dough,then you top it with the caramel-peanutbutter-chocolatechip layer,then you put over the last layer of cookie dough and bake again the whole piece? Thank you …

    • Francesca permalink
      October 9, 2012 12:28 pm

      Thank you very much! looking forward putting it in the oven!I’ll tell you about once I’ve made it and my children have ate it! Thanks again!

      • thebitesizedbaker permalink*
        October 9, 2012 12:34 pm

        You’re welcome! I have a feeling it will be a huge hit!

    • Francesca permalink
      October 9, 2012 4:01 pm

      Please, could you check step number 3? I think you have to re write it, there is where I got the wrong idea, or maybe I didnt understand it as english is not my current language

    • natalie permalink
      October 20, 2012 1:53 pm

      HI Francesca, yes, you do put half of the cookie dough in the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Hope that helps!

  34. bob permalink
    October 10, 2012 5:43 pm

    they are in the oven right now! the carmel sauce is soooooo good…I am thinking of making a batch for over ice cream! yum!

  35. Dee-Dee permalink
    October 22, 2012 12:32 pm

    Do you know approx. how many bags of caramels this is? Also, do you think it would work to melt caramels in microwave? I’m hoping to make these for a get-together this evening. I found you on Pinterest & feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. Thank you for the recipe.

  36. October 26, 2012 8:58 pm

    This recipe looks amazingly yum! Definitely going to give this a try!

    • November 7, 2012 6:51 pm

      Hope you enjoyed it! I just bought two packages of soft caramels… I know what I’m making this weekend!

  37. October 26, 2012 9:00 pm

    Reblogged this on The Seasoned Pantry and commented:
    AMAZING!

  38. Brittany permalink
    December 1, 2012 8:06 pm

    Do you still bake the first layer if you are using premade cookie dough?

    • December 3, 2012 12:31 pm

      Yes! Follow the assembly instructions exactly as you would if you were making it from scratch!

  39. jason hill permalink
    December 8, 2012 2:07 pm

    hi these look soooh good can i use dulce de leche caramel sauce instead of caramels and evaporated milk thanks merry christmas

  40. Misty Rohrer permalink
    December 26, 2012 5:45 pm

    Has anyone make these with mint chocolate chips?

  41. ValerieC permalink
    December 28, 2012 11:48 am

    These have become the hit of my holiday baking. For some reason the guys really love them…to the point they hide them from others.
    I have found that rolling out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper makes that process much easier. I have even scored the paper to give me the lines to roll too, so it fits perfectly in the pan. Pull off the top layer of waxed paper flip over into the pan and peel off the bottom layer.
    Thanks for this great recipe!

  42. allie permalink
    January 27, 2013 2:12 pm

    i have made these today as a request for my daughters 9th birthday. I used the caramel bits in the baking aisle, and added in the reeses chips at the end and melted em all together. She choose icecream to go on top. Absolutely sinfully divine! We have made the brownie version as well, and salt on the caramel layer in those are phenomenal!

  43. Brittany permalink
    May 11, 2013 9:45 pm

    Looks sooooo good! Can’t wait to make it!!!

  44. May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

    what is the nutritional value of one bar?

  45. Taylor Gaines permalink
    February 2, 2014 5:29 pm

    OMG I am in the process of making these and SO excited!!! Do you think I can leave out the peanut butter? Or is it worth it to keep it?

  46. Amanda permalink
    April 14, 2014 6:53 pm

    Can I used a glass casserole dish instead? I don’t have a jelly roll pan

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