Hit the Bar! Caramel Bar Cookies


Pave the road to good intentions with swirls of caramel leading straight to an open bar! A bar cookie, that is—a really, really good bar cookie recipe I found in an old Cooking Light magazine circa 2003.

After fixing dinner Friday night, I turned on the Tropical Holiday music station, threw caution to the wind—and a boatload of caramels. Well, just 40 (unwrapped), but my saucepan still wasn’t very happy about it. (Scalding hot water removes the sticky mess later on.)

The Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks team soon discovered that this magical time of the year—when we all get together and bake cookies and dream of elves in little toy shops at the North Pole—is even better when the cookie baking doesn’t require eight maids a milking or swans. (Pro tip: Swans get stuck in caramel. Butter them first—but really, they should be omitted for…reasons.)

If you want to raise the bar on your cookie baking, but don’t want to raise a ruckus, this is the recipe I tried:

¼ cup of firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla

¼ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of all-purpose flour

about 40 soft caramels (unwrapped)—we had precisely 39—probably a swan ate one

2 tablespoons of fat free milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

¼ cup of finely chopped pecans (I bought some, but I couldn’t find them. I used walnuts instead—I’m blaming swans.)

Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Beat the sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt until well mixed. Press it into an 8×8-inch pan and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the caramels, milk, and vanilla together in a saucepan over low heat. Pour it over the crust when it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with the nuts, and bake for another 15 minutes.


I forgot to spray the pan with cooking spray, so it was a little difficult to get the cookies out of the pan, but no one seemed to mind. The cookies were delicious. If you take them to a holiday party, they will draw a crowd—and most likely a few rowdy, buttered, bar-hopping swans.

Your turn: What’s the easiest cookie or dessert you like to make?



26 thoughts on “Hit the Bar! Caramel Bar Cookies

  1. When I was a kid, I used to make a recipe from a children’s cookbook that involved oatmeal, cocoa, sugar, and butter rolled into balls. No cooking involved! I loved those things, but I doubt I could handle them now.

    Liked by 1 person

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