I can inhale caramel corn by the handful. And the more I eat, the more I want.
Rather than just inhale it as fast as I can chew, I baked it into layered bars that are bursting with texture.
That at least slows down the rate of inhalation because the caramel corn is perched on top of squishy, gooey marshmallows, which are on top of dense, rich chocolate chip cookie bars. They’re quite a mouthful in the best possible way.
I have a real fondness for marshmallow-based bars and cereal bars. I’ve never met a Rice Krispies Treat variation that I didn’t love. The same can be said for pans of bars. Love them for their quick and easy prep.
These bars are a hybrid using some of my favorite elements. Rather than using cereal, I caramel corn. A nice trade-up.
And get a load of all that gooey marshmallow. I’m pretty proud of this one-handed shot. My camera and lens weigh a good 8 or 9 pounds, no joke. But marshmallow gooey shots are worth it.
The bars are fast and easy to make, and the dough for the chocolate chip cookie layer is the easiest chocolate chip cookie dough I’ve ever made.
I used the recipe I created for the Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups and you don’t need a mixer. Chocolate chip cookie dough without dragging out a mixer is a major feat in my kitchen.
After stirring together the dough and pressing it into a pan, bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or just until the top is set. It’s okay if it’s quite pale, light, and possibly a touch underdone in the center because the pan goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes. Don’t overbake now or they’ll be dry and overdone later.
Top the baked cookie layer with marshmallows and then with Werther’s Original® Caramel Popcorn.
Werther’s just launched this caramel corn and it’s buttery, caramely, light, airy, with just the right balance of salty-and-sweet. If I didn’t bake most of an 8-ounce bag into the bars, I would have inhaled said 8-ounce bag in no time. Really good caramel corn.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes or so, just long enough so the marshmallows have puffed slightly and have softened, but don’t bake to the point they’re browning because you may scorch the caramel corn.
The marshmallows are the ‘glue’ that trap the caramel corn into their sticky web so that it becomes anchored and doesn’t just fall off.
After pulling the pan from the oven, drizzle with melted chocolate, and then set it aside to cool for at least a couple hours. You don’t want to slice into the bars until they’ve had a chance to properly set up or you’ll have a literal hot mess on your hands.
If you love a lot of diverse textures and flavors going on in your bars like I do, you’re going to love these.
The chocolate chip cookie layer is soft and tender, with just slight chewiness near the edges. The chocolate chips add nice bursts of chocolate flavor, without overpowering the buttery, flavorful dough that complements the buttery caramel corn.
The marshmallows are like soft little pillows, and make the perfect squishy, tacky perch for the caramel corn. I love bars with surprise layers of marshmallows, and this layer reminds me of the Peanut Chewy Payday Bars and Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars.
The caramel corn stays crunchy, crispy, and makes a wonderful contrast to the fluffy marshmallows and soft cookie base.
Something for everyone. Chocolate chip cookies. Marshmallows. Caramel corn. Melted chocolate.
All in one very easy bar.
Pin This Recipe
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 2 cups Werther’s Original® Caramel Popcorn
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Cookie Base – To a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don’t scramble the egg.
- Add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix
- Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate chips.
- Turn dough out into prepared pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing it with a spatula or pressing into place with your fingers to form an even, flat layer.
- Evenly sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top, pressing them very lightly into the dough with your fingers.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. It’s okay if it’s quite pale, light, and possibly a touch underdone in the center because the pan goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes or so; don’t overbake now.
- Topping – Evenly sprinkle marshmallows over the cookie layer.
- Evenly sprinkle the caramel corn over the marshmallows.
- Return pan to oven and bake for about 7 to 9 minutes, or until marshmallows have puffed slightly and have softened, but don’t bake to the point they’re browning because you may scorch the caramel corn.
- After removing pan from oven, using a hot mitt or being extra careful and using your palm, gently press the caramel corn down into the softened marshmallows to encourage it to become anchored and stick; set pan aside.
- In a small microwave-safe mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power. Stop to stir. Heat in 15-second bursts until chips can be stirred smooth. 15 seconds is likely all they’ll need.
- Using a spoon, evenly drizzle melted chocolate over the bars. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before slicing and serving; do not slice into bars that haven’t cooled and set up because they will be exceedingly messy. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Cookie base adapted from Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 436Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 2gSugar: 61gProtein: 4g
Peanut Chewy Payday Bars (almost no-bake)
Biscoff Marshmallow Chocolate Bars (no-bake)
Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars (almost no-bake)
Do you like caramel corn? Do you have a favorite recipe if you make it yourself?