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These salted caramel cookie bars are a layer of gooey caramel sauce sandwiched between two layers of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. Top with a little vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce for the most delicious and decadent dessert! Because the vegan caramel sauce is homemade, these are gluten free and paleo salted caramel cookie bars!
If you’re looking for a special dessert recipe for holidays, family gatherings, movie night, or you just want to up your weekend baking game, THIS IS IT! These chewy chocolate chip cookie bars stuffed with salted caramel sauce elevate everything they accompany.
The cookie dough in these bars is based off of my famous paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe, and the caramel is my simple 4-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce that couldn’t be easier to make. You can make the caramel sauce ahead of time, and assemble and bake the bars the day of for easier baking and eating.
Because the cookie dough contains my signature trifecta of flours—almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour—these salted caramel cookie bars are completely gluten free and paleo friendly! It’s a healthier version that contains more nourishing ingredients.
I highly recommend serving these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and an extra drizzle of caramel. You won’t regret it.
How to Make Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
Making salted caramel cookie bars is all about the layering! Start by whisking the almond flour in a large mixing bowl until it’s broken down and fine. Add the tapioca flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda, and whisk until combined.
Add the coconut sugar, honey, ghee, eggs, and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl, and fold everything together until a uniform dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Now, to make the layers, take a little less than ½ of the cookie dough and press a thin layer of cookie dough into the bottom of the pan using your fingers. I say a little less than half because I want you to have more cooking dough to work with with the top layer. Bake the bottom layer for 7 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to the touch. Now, pour the caramel sauce on top of the cookie layer in the pan. If you need to, gently spread it with a spatula to about ½ inch from the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the caramel with a little coarse salt.
With the remaining cookie dough, take a piece of the dough and gently flatten it into a thin layer in between your hands, and place it on top of the caramel sauce. I like to make 3-4 large pieces and place them on top first, then take smaller pieces and flatten and shape them so that they match the holes that remain. Prioritize covering the holes around the edges first. Press a few extra chocolate chips into the top layer as garnish.
Return the cookie bars to the oven and bake for 17-18 minutes. Let the cookie bars cool, then transfer them to the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
The Perfect Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce
What makes these salted caramel cookie bars stand out is the gooey salted caramel center, of course! For this recipe, you’ll use ¾ cup of my 4-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce. It’s so easy to make, and has a nice thick and creamy texture. While you can make this the same day, I recommend making the caramel sauce the day before so it has time to thicken in the fridge and you only have to make the cookie dough and assemble the bars when you bake them.
Depending on how long you gently boil the caramel sauce, the recipe will make about ¾ to 1 cup of sauce. Don’t pour the entire batch of caramel sauce when assembling the bars. If you use a full cup, the center won’t cook properly and it will be too wet and gooey. If you have a little bit extra caramel sauce leftover, save it and use it as a dip for fruit or drizzle it on top of ice cream!
To make the vegan caramel sauce, place a can of full-fat coconut milk and ¾ cup coconut sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and stir frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 25-30 minutes. The sauce will become a dark brown caramel color.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Pour the caramel into a sealable glass container and let it cool completely in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before using it. As it cools, the vegan caramel sauce will thicken.
Serving and Storage for Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
You can serve these salted caramel cookie bars right out of the fridge or lay them out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. I love to serve these cookie bars with a little Nadamoo Ice Cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce on top.
Store any extra vegan salted caramel sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It will last up to two weeks. You can make the caramel sauce 1-3 days in advance before baking the bars.
Store the salted caramel cookie bars in the refrigerator for up to a week. To freeze, simply chill the bars in the fridge, then cut them into squares and place them in a sealable freezer-safe silicone bag before storing them in the freezer for up to three months. You can also wrap them in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container to freeze.
Can I Make Ingredient Substitutions?
Sure can! However, this is where I make that special note that you won’t get the same consistent results if you vary from the original recipe. But, if you find yourself short, here’s a few swaps you can make:
- Almond flour: You can use another nut flour, like cashew flour.
- Tapioca flour: You can use arrowroot flour in a pinch, but this will change the texture slightly as arrowroot is a little more gummy.
- Honey: This can be swapped for maple syrup. Note: the cookie bars will be slightly less sweet with maple syrup.
- Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar can easily be swapped for brown sugar.
- Ghee: Don’t have ghee? Just use unsalted butter.
Baking Tips + Tricks
- If you forgot to lay out your eggs to get them to room temperature, just place the eggs in a warm water bath for a few minutes.
- You can make the 4-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce up to 3 days in advance of baking to save time.
- Don’t pour the entire batch of caramel sauce when assembling the bars. Measure out ¾ cup.
- Try to use a little less than 1/2 of the dough for the bottom layer. This will give you more cookie dough to work with with the top layer.
- When flatting the pieces for the top layer, just think about flattening a piece of play-doh into a pancake in between your hands. Make 3-4 larger flat pieces to cover most of the top layer, then fill in with smaller pieces. Place, don’t spread.
- These salted caramel cookie bars are super gooey, so let them set in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
- Serve with Nadamoo Vanilla Ice Cream or a drizzle of extra caramel sauce!
What I Love About This Salted Caramel Cookie Bar Recipe
- This recipe makes soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie bars with gooey caramel sauce in the middle.
- The ingredients are simple and easy to find.
- The cooke dough mixes up in one bowl.
- These paleo salted caramel cookie bars are the perfect vehicle for vanilla ice cream! It’s a delicious treat for birthdays and special occasions.
- These gluten free salted caramel cookie bars are paleo and grain free!
Stocking the Pantry
I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs because it saves me some cash—especially when it comes to commonly used items like blanched almond flour, ghee, and coconut oil. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my Baking and Cooking Resources Page.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Fudgy Paleo Brownies (Crackly Top, Gluten-Free)
- Baked Paleo Chocolate Donuts
- Fluffy Paleo Cinnamon Rolls
- Paleo Double Chocolate Banana Bread
What did you think about these salted caramel cookie bars? Come back and let me know below!