These chewy caramel cookie bars are an easy addition to make for the holidays, and they look so festive thanks to the red and green M&Ms! Make a batch this year and watch how quickly they disappear.
Candy Caramel Bars are one of my family’s favorite holiday cookie/bar recipes. I found this recipe in one of my Pillsbury holiday cookbooks a few years ago, and it’s been on my Christmas “must bake” list ever since.
What’s more, I think if I decided not to make them one year, the entire family would mutiny! That’s why it’s a good thing these treats are so undeniably easy to make.
And I love that my kids enjoy helping too when I make them. Of course, they don’t mind the easy opportunity to sneak a few M&Ms here and there. But hey, everything’s better with M&Ms! 😉
With red and green candy-coated milk chocolate pieces and a chewy caramel center, these cookie bars are delicious and festive! They’re sure to be a favorite on (and the first to disappear from) any Christmas cookie plate!
For another decadent cookie-inspired dessert, try my cookie dough brownies recipe!
Ingredients Need To Make Chewy Caramel Cookie Bars:
This list includes everything you’ll need to make this recipe. For the full recipe, including the amounts you’ll need of each, please check out the handy printable recipe card at the bottom of the post!
- Brown Sugar – Adds to the buttery, caramel flavors in the recipe.
- Butter – Make sure it’s softened to room temperature.
- Rolled Oats – The original recipe says quick-cooking, but I use old-fashioned.
- Crisp Rice Cereal – I love the crunch this cereal adds to these chewy caramel cookie bars!
- Flour – All-purpose works well for this recipe. I’ve never tried using whole wheat.
- Baking Soda – Helps these bars rise, so they aren’t as dense.
- Salt – This flavor enhancer is the secret weapon in this sweet recipe.
- Caramel Syrup – All that yummy caramel goodness is right here.
- Red And Green Candy-Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces – Because everything is better with M&Ms, right?
How To Make This Caramel Cookie Bars Recipe
I love a good easy recipe, don’t you? This recipe couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s how:
Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13x2″ pan. I like to use the butter wrappers.
In a large bowl, whip the softened butter.
Add the brown sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the oats and rice cereal.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix again. It will be very thick.
Set aside about half of the dough. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the greased pan.
I estimate and use just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. The remaining batter will be used for the top of the bars.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. It will only be partially baked.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of the candy pieces on top. Next, drizzle on the caramel syrup.
I’m too lazy to measure (really, who wants to clean out that sticky measuring cup?), so I just estimate. It should look something like this:
(Oh yeah, my bottom layer was slightly overbaked… I had to deal with one child throwing a toy at another and missed my kitchen timer. Oops. But it still tasted delicious – the bottom just wasn’t as soft as usual.)
Next, you’ll need to spoon the remaining oat mixture over the candy and caramel layer.
Note: You won’t have quite enough dough to cover it completely, so just do your best to cover most of it. As the bars bake, the top layer will melt together.
Drop the remaining chocolate candy pieces over the top, and you’re all set to bake!
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the center is set and the top is golden. I also like to do the toothpick test to be sure.
Cool for about an hour before cutting and serving your chewy caramel cookie bars. Of course, you can dig in before that, but it will be stickier and messier. Your call. 😁
Make These Caramel Cookie Bars This Year
If you’re looking for a festive treat to add to your holiday cookie tins or dessert table, this is it! It’s quick, easy, fun, and scrumptious. What more could you want?
Mom Pro Tip: Be prepared to make more than one batch because these tasty Candy Caramel Bars never last long.
Want to keep the festive baking going? This peppermint bundt cake is incredibly easy to make and looks so impressive. More importantly, it tastes amazing!
More Holiday Treats You’ll Love
If you love this recipe, you’ll love these other holiday recipes too!
- 45 Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies
- 25 Paleo Christmas Cookies And Bars
- Easy Fantasy Fudge Recipe
- Chocolate Mint Balls
- White Chocolate Popcorn Recipe
Candy Caramel Bars
With red and green candy-coated milk chocolate pieces and a chewy caramel center, these bars are sure to be a favorite on any Christmas cookie plate.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 24 1x
- 1.5 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1.5 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)
- 1.5 cups rolled oats (the original recipe says quick-cooking, but I use old-fashioned)
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal
- 2 cups flour, all-purpose
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- caramel syrup, approximately 1 cup
- 1 (14oz) package red and green candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13x2″ pan.
- In a large bowl, whip the softened butter. Stir in the brown sugar and mix until combined. Then add the oats and rice cereal. Finally mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Combine. Your mixture should be very thick.
- Set aside about half of the dough. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the greased pan. I estimate and use just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. The remaining batter will be used to make the top layer of these bars.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Don’t be surprised to discover that it’s only partially baked.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of the candy pieces on top. Drizzle with the caramel syrup.
- Spoon the remaining oat mixture over the candy and caramel layer. There won’t be enough dough to cover the top completely, so just cover most of it because the top layer will melt together as the bars finish baking.
- Sprinkle the remaining chocolate candy pieces over the top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the center is set and the top is golden. I also like to do the toothpick test to be sure. Cool for about an hour before cutting and serving.
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