Salted Caramel Butter Bars

These Salted Caramel Butter bars are one of my most requested recipes ever! The buttery cookie is filled with a creamy, salted caramel that is so rich and beyond delicious.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

Salted Caramel Butter Bars are THE BEST Cookie Bar of ALL TIME!

I can’t begin to explain to you how much I love these Salted Caramel Butter Bars…I make them ALL THE TIME. They are one of my most requested desserts to bring to parties and there is never one left! And might I add, if you happen to be entering a cookie contest, these will guarantee you victory. Unequivocally.

The base is a buttery shortbread that comes together very easily and the filling is simply caramels, milk or cream, and a little salt! You can use pre-made caramels, or even a thick caramel sauce. I do recommend using caramels over sauce, because I think the texture is more chewy and hold up better than sauce, but so many of you who have made this recipe let me know that you have used caramel sauce and it’s worked out well!

These cookie bars are really super simple and can be adapted in different ways…I even made a Salted Nutella Butter bar based on this recipe. The buttery crust, the chewy caramel and the omg deliciousness of it all has never disappointed. Salted caramel runs through my veins at this point. Oh and there is even an APPLE version in my book!
These are a must in my house at the holidays…or whenever I am looking to make people fall in love with me 🙂

How To Make Salted Caramel Butter Bars

How To Make Salted Caramel Butter Bars

It’s all a pretty easy process, just a few steps, honestly: you make dough, you divide dough, you bake some of the dough, you chill some of the dough…

THEN
You melt caramel, you spread caramel, you sprinkle salt on the caramel, then you sprinkle more dough.
Then finish baking.
It’s easy and oh so delicious!!

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

I will tell you that these cookie bars are next level. Yes, there is a lot of butter, yes there are a lot of calories, BUT I urge you not to eat the whole pan. I actually don’t think that is physically possible! ha! Have one, savor it, love it, and SHARE them!
I might go as far to say that they are one of the best things that I have made in a while.
I know you will love them..that is if you like butter, sugar and delicious caramel filling.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.
They sure won’t help your fat jean/skinny jean dilemma, but they are guaranteed to make you happy while you’re wearing elastic 🙂

Looking For More Caramel Recipes? Try These:

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Salted Caramel Butter Bars

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x
  • Category: Cookie Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description:

Salted Caramel Butter Bars are a buttery shortbread filled with creamy salted caramel! A MUST MAKE!


Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 14 ounces soft caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • optional – 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Instructions:

To Make the Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until a soft dough forms.
  3. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are a pale golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.

To Make the Filling:

  1. 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 milk or cream. 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.
  2. Once the caramel is melted add in your ½ teaspoon of vanilla and stir until combined.
  3. Pour the caramel filling over the cooled crust. If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now.
  4. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Notes:

  • Store airtight for up to 5 days

Keywords:: salted caramel, cookie bar, butter, butter bars, cookie recipe, cookies and cups

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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365 Responses
  1. Jenn Erickson

    Were we separated at birth? Holy moley — those look amazing! I've been in a funk these days too. The time change must have something to do with it — totally throws the whole universe out of whack! Well, I'm glad to hear that you employed a little salted caramel therapy and that your week is on the upswing!

    I was working on my blogroll today — on my blog it's a page called "Good Eggs". I realized that I only had one food-related blog listed and knew just who to add…YOU! Here's the link. http://www.rookno17.com/2008/09/good-eggs.html

  2. Hammett's

    Hahahaaa, thanks for the giggle! Love the fat jeans being your skinny jeans comment, we've all been there and hello, LOVE all the housewives! Oh yeah, and the treats look delish too! 🙂

  3. ?Sugar?Plum?Fairy?

    Oh u have the cutest blog and i have that cutest book:-)
    Its a super cool book and i love the colors and prints in there!!
    these sound jus the bars i wud lovee to indulge in!!
    So lovely!!

  4. Sue

    These look AMAZING! I have never seen these before and I even have the cookbook. I looked it up, but I like your version better! 🙂
    Funny post!

  5. Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything}

    I'm a Housewives addict too…my guilty pleasure. I have some caramels that never made it to my apples so I think I will try this.
    Thanks!

  6. Linda V @ Bubble and Sweet

    Seriously if they didn't help you out of your funk I don't know what would, I've got a bit of a think for salted caramel at the moment.

  7. Jocelyn

    Sadly with all the baking I have been doing my fat jeans are fitting way too well…definite funk moment. But those bars…yummilicious!!!!

  8. Brenna Hawley

    Oh man, I've been in my own sort of funk, to the point of not even wanting to bake. That's when you know it's a really bad funk! Maybe these can bring me out of it 🙂

  9. Dvora

    Any suggestion for a homemade version of the caramel filling? We can't get caramel candies where I live… Thanks for another yummy looking recipe!

      1. shelly

        Caramel sauce or syrup would probably work, but you just wouldn’t have that chewy caramel layer, it would be a softer layer, and may absorb into the shortbread a little..but I bet it would still be good!

          1. Shelly

            I haven’t ever made these gluten free, but I have used the brand Cup 4 Cup in other recipes and it’s fantastic!

      2. Midnight Baker

        See my post above using caramel ice cream topping and flour. Caramel syrup is too thin in comparison to ice cream topping and won’t work well. During baking, it will bubble up through the top layer and bake into the bars. It will also leak through the sides and become hard, especially as it cools. Some of the syrup will soak into the base our could soak through.

      3. Alison Peleskey

        I make homemade caramels every year at Christmas and we just used those. Homemade caramel is pretty easy (and you can find recipes online). They were delicious in this!

    1. EmKn

      If you submerge (this is crucial) a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan of water and simmer about 3 hours, upon opening the can you will discover the most delicious caramel! As a note, if the can is not submerged the entire time it’s boiling, I’ve been told things could go terribly wrong. Something about the pressure build up in the can…you get the picture.

      1. Midnight Baker

        Borden’s doesn’t recommend caramelizing their sweetened condensed milk directly in the can. If you go to their website you will find they have 3 methods for doing it other that in the can for safety reasons.

      2. karen hime

        I’ve tried this using my slow cooker,on low over night totally and absolutely cover the can with water. Works great and is so easy and delicious.

      3. Angela

        I make caramel this way all the time. It’s the only one I’ll eat, it is the best! I put in a large pot, cover with water, and boil for several hours, checking after each hour and top with more water, as needed. Been doing this for years, with no problems!

    2. Midnight Baker

      Yes! Combine a 12.5 ounce jar of caramel ice cream topping with 3 level measuring tablespoons all-purpose flour; mix well until completely blended. This will cover a crumb layer for a 13×9-inch pan of bars and was is the original caramel filling in the Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist recipe for Oatmeal Caramelitas. It has always been one of their most requested recipes. It still won’t be as tacky and stiff as the melted Kraft caramels, but don’t be tempted to add more flour or the caramel will taste “floury.” It will be delicious but a softer caramel.

    3. BJS

      I’ve used the boiled sweetened condensed milk version of caramel for years. My family won’t eat anything else lol. I refuse to jinx myself beyond saying that done carefully it does work! Here’s a link with several ways of doing it explained. I use #1 — do NOT NOT NOT let the water get closer than an inch to the can — if you have to add water, make sure it’s boiling water! 🙂 Biggest problem is that it takes a long time to do — enough so that you if you’ve got the funk and need your fix quickly, this ain’t the recipe for you 😉 Oh yeah — I’ve always cooked mine for 3 hours (we make homemade turtles and it’s perfect consistency for that) but I think I’d do about 2 hours and 22.5 (I couldn’t decide 20 or 25 so I split the difference *grin*) minutes for this recipe
      http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Caramel-from-Sweetened-Condensed-Milk

      1. Katherine

        I was planning on using the caramelized sweetened condensed milk myself, but I can’t decide – do you use it straight as is, or still thin with milk and vanilla???

    4. Kiley

      I use a condensed milk version
      2 cans cond milk
      140gm of butter
      2 TBSP of golden syrup
      1/4 C brown sugar

      Melt all together then allow to cool 10 mins

  10. Taylor

    I've made these bars from that book before and oh. my. gosh….SO good! We re-named them the 7,000 calorie bars, but they're so delicious we don't even care how sinful they are!

  11. Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany)

    These look delightful…and no wonder with that amount of buttery goodness! Guess what, it's 2.07pm here and I'm in my pj's too!!! Ahh, maybe I should go some buttery treats to get me up and about?

  12. Kristan

    Oh Em Gee. I wish we were neighbors so I could come over and gossip about skeevy Michael Lohan while we scarfed down a bunch of these yummy looking bars.

    Didn't you say you were in the market for a vacation home in rural Arkansas?

    Yep, pretty sure you did. 😉

    These look just awesome.

  13. katie@tulsadetails

    OMG – I might die of deliciousness. And let's be honest, a day where you can catch up on an entire season or dvr'd shows is never a waste!

  14. tease-spoon of sugar

    Holy crap! Those sound and look delicious. They're going on the xmas baking short list. Hope you're out of your funk. Skinny jeans are overrated. ; )

  15. Erin

    I'm so sorry you are in a funk. Your list definitely sounds funkable. But after makign these cookies you have to feel better! They sounds so fantastic! I can't wait to make them. Sadly, I'll probably eat them all.

  16. keepitsweet

    so glad you liked these! your pictures look gorgeous. by the way, i can totally relate to your "funk", especially in terms of the skinny jeans….

  17. JustMargo

    OH! MY! GAWD! I have died and gone to dessert heaven!(I'm in a funk because it's 60 degrees out – cold to me – and I took my car to the autobody shop. Apparently the pole that connected with my driver-side door is the winner!)

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Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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