Yield: 8″ pan salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars // Total Time: 1 hr. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Buttery and chewy oatmeal pecan cookie bars, stuffed with a thick layer of dark chocolate and salted caramel sauce.
Why you’ll love these salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars
If you are ever looking for a dessert to satisfy all your sweet cravings, this is the dessert for you. I mean, it’s a chewy pecan oatmeal cookie stuffed with dark chocolate and salted caramel sauce. These are also often called carmelitas – but I’ve found that not many people seem to know what that is (very unfortunately, because they’re SO delicious!) I might be biased, but I definitely recommend making my easy 15 minute salted caramel sauce for this recipe. It’s rich, buttery & (I promise) better than store bought.
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient and can easily throw off a recipe. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Mix the dough carefully
- When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the cookie dough tough and undesirable.
Room temperature ingredients
- It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. You can either take the egg out to sit at room temperature for 30 min. – 1 hr. before starting, or run it under hot water for 1 minute.
Let the bars chill before slicing them
- I know it’s super annoying, but you’re going to want to let these bars chill for at least 2 hours before slicing. This allows time for the caramel to set up so you don’t have a huge caramel mess in your kitchen. I promise these are worth the wait!
Ingredients and substitutions
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Rolled oats: for adding some texture to the cookie dough. I recommend using rolled oats for the best texture, but you can use instant oats as well.
Baking soda: for leavening the dough.
Baking powder: for leavening the dough.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness and flavor of the bars.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the dough. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just leave out the extra salt in the dough.
Light brown sugar: for sweetening the dough, locking in moisture, and for adding some depth of flavor thanks to the molasses in light brown sugar.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the dough and locking in moisture.
Egg: for binding the dough together
Vanilla: I use and love this vanilla extract.
Pecans: for delicious flavor and for some texture. Feel free to sub in your favorite nut, or omit them if you need to!
Dark chocolate chips: I definitely recommend using dark chocolate to balance out the sweet dough and sweet caramel sauce. You could use semi-sweet, but milk chocolate would definitely be way too sweet with the other components.
Salted caramel sauce: you can use a thick jarred sauce, or you can use my *delicious* 15 minute salted caramel sauce.
How to: salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars
1. Make the salted caramel sauce. Optional, but I highly recommend it. You can find my easy 15 minute salted caramel sauce recipe here!
2. Make the cookie dough. Start by melting the butter and whisking it with the sugar. Then, whisk in the egg and vanilla.
3. Add in the dry ingredients. Add in the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together until only a few flour streaks remain. Then, add in the chopped pecans and fold just until the ingredients are cohesive and no flour streaks remain.
4. Bake the first layer of dough. Pat approximately 3/4 of the oatmeal cookie dough down into a lined 8″ square pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the cookie begin to turn golden brown.
5. Layer the bars. Remove the pan from the oven, and place the chocolate chips on top of the dough in an even layer. Drizzle the salted caramel sauce evenly over the chocolate chips, then break off pieces of the remaining dough and place them on top of the caramel. You won’t have enough dough to fully cover the top – that’s fine! It should look like the third picture above. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the dough turns golden brown.
6. Chill the bars. Annoying, but unfortunately necessary. If you cut into these bars too soon you will have a hot melted caramel mess on your hands. Let the bars chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge before slicing.
7. Slice, serve, and enjoy! Once the cookie bars are cooled and set, slice into them, serve, and enjoy! Be sure that you store any excess in the fridge!
Homemade salted caramel sauce
I always make my easy and delicious 15 minute salted caramel sauce for carmelitas and I recommend you try it too! However, you can also sub in a thick jarred caramel sauce and add 3/4 tsp. salt to it. The great thing about the salted caramel sauce is that you can easily make it ahead of time, and it can also be enjoyed in coffee, on ice cream, or by the spoonful!
Salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
Of course! Simply double all of the ingredients and bake the brownies in a 9×13″ pan, or bake them in two 8″ square pans. Be sure to keep an eye on them if you make them in a 9×13″ as the baking time may differ.
How to store these cookie bars
Because these bars are stuffed with caramel sauce, they do need to be stored in the fridge. They will keep well covered in an airtight container in the fridge for one week. They also keep super well in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you want one, simply let it sit out for 15-20 minutes, and enjoy!
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars?
If you made these salted caramel dark chocolate cookie bars I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars
- 113 g unsalted butter (½ c.)
- 100 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 50 g granulated sugar (¼ c.)
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 130 g all purpose flour (1 c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 80 g rolled oats (1 c.)
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 60 g chopped pecans (½ c.)
- 170 g dark chocolate chips (1 c.)
- 300 g salted caramel sauce (1 c.)
- If you're making your own salted caramel sauce – do it prior to starting the recipe (here). It can also be made up to one week in advance and kept in the fridge until needed!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease and line an 8" pan with butter and parchment paper.
- Add the butter to a microwave safe medium sized mixing bowl, then melt it in the microwave.
- To the melted butter, whisk in both sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla.
- Add in the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gently mix the ingredients together until just a few flour streaks remain. Then, mix in the chopped pecans just until no flour streaks remain.
- Spread ~¾ of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan, and smooth it down into an even layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.
- Remove the dough from the oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chips into an even layer over the dough, then top with the salted caramel sauce.
- Tear the remaining dough into little chunks and place it on top of the salted caramel layer. It will not fully cover the layer – this is completely fine!
- Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the dough on top turns golden brown.
- Let the pan cool at room temperature, then place the bars in the fridge for at least 2 hours before slicing. Serve and enjoy!