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Caramel Cream Bar Cookies

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1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 7 tablespoons heavy cream

Caramel Cream Bar Cookies

A Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe is transformed into a bar cookie for a much easier version of a rich and delightful treat.

  • Serves 36
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I love so many of Pillsbury’s Bake-Off recipes. This makes sense when you know that I grew up reading their Bake-Off cookbooks, and that my mom saved the newspaper inserts announcing the Bake-Off winners in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, I still have some of those crumbling pages, and I’m always looking for more on eBay. It’s fascinating to look through them. That’s where I got the idea for Caramel Cream Bar Cookies.

When I was little, I didn’t want to enter the contest; I wanted to be one of the sleek and poised home economists pictured with the contestants! And I did work for Pillsbury on the Bake-Off; in the kitchens and for recipe search. I never did get to be one of the “sleek and poised home economists” at the actual Bake-Off contest, but my picture is in the Bake-Off 33 cookbook!

This recipe for Caramel Cream Bar Cookies is based on an old Bake-Off contest favorite: Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies. That recipe makes a little round cookie, sandwiched with a browned butter frosting. The recipe is very rich and delicious.

These bars look so plain and innocent, but when you bite into one, it not only melts in your mouth, it has some of the best flavor I have ever tasted in a bar cookie. The recipe has almost two cups of butter in the shortbread and frosting!

And this recipe feeds a crowd very easily. You have to use a large 15″ x 10″ jelly roll pan, and the bars should be cut small. One pan easily feeds 36 people. Enjoy every bite of this rich and creamy bar cookie.

Tips for the best Caramel Cream Bar Cookies:

  • Always measure flour accurately. Cookies are especially vulnerable to too much flour; spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off.
  • Don’t overwork the dough or the cookies will be tough.
  • When you are browning butter, you have to pay very close attention. It can go from beautifully browned to burned in a second.

Why this recipe works:

  • Most cookie recipes, whether drop, shaped, or cut out, can be transformed to bar cookies. As a general rule, for every 2 cups of flour you should use at least 9-inch by 13-inch pan. A dough like chocolate chip cookies works well in that size pan, but a shortbread cookie, like this one, should be baked in a jelly roll pan.
  • Because the recipe is high in fat, it stays tender even when baked in a large sheet.
  • Choose a lower temperature for baking the bar cookies, and start with the lowest time. Just keep checking the bars and take them out when they are starting to turn golden around the edges.
  • Bar cookies are easier to make because you don’t have to form each individual cookie.

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Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.


In a large bowl, combine 1 cup butter with the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until combined.


Add the flour and mix just until a dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.


Bake for 17 to 22 minutes or until the bars are set and starting to turn light golden brown around the edges. Cool the bars completely in the pan on a wire rack.


To make the frosting, melt 3/4 cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Now you're going to let the butter brown. Keep the pan over low heat. The butter will start to sizzle. When the sizzling stops, swirl the pan as the butter starts to brown. When you see brown areas, take the pan off the heat. Don't let the butter burn.


Using a hand mixer, beat the powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and enough of the cream for desired spreading consistency into the butter in the pan. Frost the bars and let stand until cool. Cut into bars to serve. Store covered at room temperature.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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