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Gooey Caramel Butter Bars | www.tasteandtellblog.com

I’m really excited about these cookie bars – because I have somewhere to share them!! I am a believer than anything is better when it is shared. So I’m happy to be presenting these Gooey Caramel Butter Bars at Peabody’s housewarming party. Peabody is a new homeowner, and has generously invited us all over for a virtual housewarming. And since I know she has a lot of loyal followers, I’m sure the spread is going to be amazing!!

This is the first recipe I’ve tried out of Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. If you haven’t seen this cookbook yet, it is probably the cutest cookbook I own. Everything is decorated in pink and blue and stripes, ribbons and polka dots. And the photos are mouthwatering. You can’t help but feel happy when you flip through the pages of this book.

I am a caramel lover, so give me anything with caramel and I am happy. When I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I would be making. And I had tons of caramels left over from Halloween (ok, so I made these a little while back!) so it was a perfect way to use those up. These are pure indulgence. With a full pound of butter in the cookies, how could they not be good? I’m sure these bars would make Paula Deen proud!

This recipe gives you the option to add walnuts, pecans or cashews if you want, so I added cashews. They went perfectly!! The only problem I had with the recipe is that the topping is supposed to be crumbled on top, but mine wouldn’t crumble. It wasn’t a problem for me, though. The top just ended up like another layer, which worked!!

So Peabody – I wish you all kinds of happiness in your new home!!

Gooey Caramel Butter Bars
from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

For the Crust:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
pinch of salt
1 cup pecans, walnuts or cashews (optional)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

To make the crust:
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Pat the remaining dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F. Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream, rum (if using), and salt. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Sprinkle the nuts, if using, over the bottom crust. Pour the caramel filling over the nuts, using a small metal spatula to nudge the filling evenly over the crust. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Use a sharp knife to cut the bars evenly into 15 large squares. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and, if desired, cut in half on the diagonal to form 30 triangular bars. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

The bars will keep, covered tightly at room temperature, for about 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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38 Responses to Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

  1. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Oh, Deb, I’m a total sucker for caramel, too!! That’s why I’m completely hooked on dulce de leche (will eat the whole can with a spoon, my goodness). πŸ™‚

    These bars are insanely good!

  2. April says:

    These look delish! I have this book and also agree that it is the cutest book ever! I have only made 1 thing from the book, so I will definitly have to try these!

  3. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, it’s me again – I was checking that book on Amazon, it looks so cute!
    I was wondering if you could tell me about photos – are there many?

    Tks, sweetie!

  4. Deborah says:

    Patricia –

    I just went through the book – there are about 20 photos of the recipes, as well as a few photo spreads at the beginning of chapters. The book is just under 170 pages long, so not a ton of pictures, but even though I’ve only made one recipe, the book looks like a winner to me!

  5. Jenny says:

    Those look sinful! I just pulled up the cookbook and it looks like a great one. Thanks for sharing, I think I’ll add it to my Christmas list!

    Great photo of the bars, I love caramel!


  6. Bev and Ollie "O" says:

    you had me at caramel! They look so good! yumyumyum!!!!!!!!!

  7. Maryann says:


  8. Ellie the Kitchen Wench says:

    They look pretty darn spesh, but I’m a little squinty at what on earth a cookie bar is…what’s the texture like (I’m a texture freak, I know!)

    Ellie @ kitchen wench

  9. Clumsy Cook says:

    Caramel? Butter? Oh gosh, I’m in love!!

  10. Cynthia says:

    One look at the pic and one can tell how rich that crust is.

  11. EAT! says:

    These look amazing!!! I am adding them to my Christmas cookie list for this year.

  12. Kevin says:

    Those look so good! Just look at the caramel oozing out the sides.

  13. Peabody says:

    Oh how I love me some caramel…and butter! These look just like their name…gooey and I am sure amazing. So glad you decided to share them!

  14. Emiline says:

    Are you the type of person that always gets the caramel macchiato or frappuccino at Starbucks?

    I’m the chocolate person, but I love caramel, too. These look very, very good.

  15. sunita says:

    I’m drooling over your caramel bars…yummmm

  16. Nan says:

    Mmmmm, gooey!

  17. Laura says:

    these look so good! I may have to make them for my cookie swap next week. And, thanks for your comments on my blog πŸ™‚

  18. LP says:

    I love carmel. These look amazing!

  19. Dana says:

    Mmm mmm mmmmm… Gooey caramel…does it get any better??

  20. Kim Stone says:

    Mmmmm… I love me the caramel. Looks like the perfect cookie exchange recipe. More butter than you can shake a stick at so you only have to sample one then the rest of the calories can live with someone else.

  21. Gigi says:

    They do look gooey, yummy!

  22. Helene says:

    They look so good. I really have to do this recipe. I don’t have any caramels left. We’ll have to find them in stores.

  23. Judy says:

    Oh. My. God. These look and sound absolutely delicious. I need one now.

  24. Jenn says:

    I went looking for the book, but my bookstore was out of them.. I can’t wait to get it though!


  25. sognatrice says:

    Yum yum yum! I *love* caramel anything and I figure if I go ahead and make that healthy Chicken Parm, I’m free to have one (or more) of these to compensate πŸ˜‰

  26. Lydia Hamre says:

    these seem so delightful!

  27. Elisabeth says:

    These look really good. But, the calories!!! What’s a girl to do. πŸ™‚

  28. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    I’ve heard about this cookbook and now must go out and find a copy. Your bars look totally delicious!

  29. michelle says:

    Oh my… these look pretty amazing. The book went straight onto my wishlist! πŸ™‚

  30. Dhanggit says:

    i will definitely copy this recipe!! thanks

  31. June says:

    OMG, those look so good! I am bookmarking them to try them out!

  32. Gretchen Noelle says:

    These look delicious! I wonder if I could get dulce de leche in there? Yum!

  33. Tartelette says:

    Just got the book and I agree, it puts me in a happy mood! The bars look decadent and I am already in line at the party for one or more of these!!

  34. Elisabeth says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I made these the other night. Everybody really liked them. I’ll be making these again. Thanks for sharing!

  35. eatme_delicious says:

    Okay I know I have to make these!!

  36. Samantha Love says:

    I just made these a few nights ago, and they were AMAZING. Thanks for recommending the recipe πŸ™‚ I blogged about too:


  37. Anonymous says:

    Hi! How much is a cup? Like how big? Omg, very tempting yummmmy caramel! Shall try it! πŸ˜€ Thanks!

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