Easy Chocolate Caramel Bars

I couldn’t decide whether to call these “quick” or “easy” but settled on “easy” because even though you can throw these together in a matter of minutes (no mixer required!), they take a while to cool.

Quick Chocolate Caramel Bars

These are bar cookies with a shortbread/oatmeal base surrounding a center layer of melted caramel filled Ghiradelli chocolate squares.  If you have a variety pack or a different flavors (they also come in mint, dark, and raspberry) you can use one of the other flavors, but my favorite was the caramel, which melted into the chocolate at first, then separated a little as it cooled and became chewy. My taste testers loved these, and I was happy with how easy they were to make at the last minute. This version is made in an 8 inch square pan, but you can easily double it and bake in a 9×13 inch pan. Just watch the bake time because you may have to increase it to about 25 minutes.

Easy Chocolate Caramel Filled Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Buttery shortbread bars with a layer of chocolate covered caramel in the center.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 scant teaspoon Kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned or quick oats, not instant
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 squares of Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel Squares or 3 circles of candy apple caramel melted with a tablespoon of cream**
  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) miniature chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray or just line it with nonstick foil.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, then remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Thoroughly stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and the oats.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk and vanilla into the cooled melted butter, then pour into dry mixture and stir until crumbly. Reserve about 1 cup of the mixture and put it in the refrigerator to chill (it's easier to crumble evenly if it's cold). Press remaining into the pan.
  5. Unwrap the chocolate squares and arrange them in an even layer across the dough.
  6. Crumble the reserved dough over the top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, then let cool completely at room temperature (or chill to speed things up). Sprinkle on chips or nuts if using.
  8. Lift from pan and cut into 16 squares or 8 bars.


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  1. says

    Caramel Chocolate and Oats!!!! YUM!!! I know I would love these. You are definitely speaking my language. I wonder if some toasted pecans would add or detract from the recipe?

  2. says

    Thanks for the comments!

    Sue, toasted pecans would be excellent. I just happened to have miniature chocolate chips so I used those. However, you get a lot of chocolate from the candy squares in the middle, so nuts might be even better.

    Katie, I’ll have to look for those. Thanks for the tip!

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