Cookie or bar, caramel or chocolate, salty or sweet? Don’t panic, there’s no need to choose with these cookie caramel bars. Start with a soft and chewy malted cookie crust, add a creamy layer of caramel, and finish with a rich chocolate topper (flaky salt too, since I can’t stop salting my chocolate!).
I think of these bars as a cookie-candy hybrid but no matter what you call them, they’re impossible to stop eating. Try to walk by the pan without cutting off a mere sliver or two to “straighten” the edges. I dare you.
Malted Cookie Caramel Bars
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup malted milk powder
- 1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Brown Sugar Caramel
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 Tbsp light brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- flaky salt
- Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with foil. For the cookie crust, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until creamy; beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and malted milk powder until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
- Scrape dough into prepared pan and use a piece of parchment paper lightly coated with nonstick spray to press dough evenly into pan. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake crust for 10 minutes, until edges are golden and top is set. Cool completely in baking pan on a wire rack.
- For the brown sugar caramel, place cubed butter and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan. Melt over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until boiling. Once mixture boils, reduce temperature to medium-low and let bubble for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; carefully add salt and vanilla (mixture will bubble up). Quickly pour caramel over cookie crust and tilt pan to coat evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- For the topping, place chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until glossy and smooth. Pour melted chocolate over caramel layer and spread with an offset spatula into an even layer; sprinkle with sea salt. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift foil and place bars on a cutting board; use a sharp knife to trim edges and cut into bars.