Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

#HolidayWithHeinens: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

The recipe and photography for this post were provided courtesy of Cleveland blogger, Katrina, of Bite Buff. 

Every good cookie recipe should start with caramels! Well, this one does. Mr. H and I partnered with Heinen’s to bring you a cookie recipe to make for the holidays. This ooey, gooey cookie bar was decadent and totally holiday indulgent-worthy. Give these cookie bars a try and be a hit at your next holiday gathering!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

Time: 45 minutes
Serves 30

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted softened butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. soft caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with foil and liberally coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Turn the speed to low and add the flour. Beat to combine, then mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  5. Layer the crushed pretzels on top of the cookie dough base.
  6. In a medium sauce pot, add the sweetened condensed milk and unwrapped caramels. Set over medium-low heat and stir until the caramels melt, making a smooth caramel filling.
  7. Pour the filling over the base.
  8. Drop the remaining cookie dough over the caramel filling in small 1- inch clumps.
  9. Bake the bars for 25-32 minutes (we pulled them out at 28 minutes once the top was a nice golden brown, but the first layer of cookie dough was not entirely cooked through), until the center is just set. I suggest checking them every couple of minutes towards the end.
  10. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow the bars to cool completely. Then lift the bars out of the pan by the edges of the foil and cut (we used a biscuit cutter to make round cookie bars). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or you can freeze the bars to make them last longer.

Note: I did adjust the recipe above slightly from the one we followed, since our bottom layer of cookie dough was slightly under-cooked and I felt there was too much caramel at the original 10 oz. included.

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