Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars

I’ve made so many bars over the years, but I have some favorites.

These are a hybrid of the ones that I especially love.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

They’re fast and easy to make, use only one bowl, no mixer, and people go nuts for them. There’s something for everyone in these drippy delights.

The bars remind me most of Carmelitas because they’re just so gooey, soft and slightly chewy, and loaded with chocolate chips.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

I made a peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk like I did in Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars and in the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Skillet Cookie. It’s like peanut butter met dulce de leche in the oven, so good, and totally calorie-free, I’m sure.

They’re also reminiscent of Seven Layer Bars, because of the layers, graham crackers, and sweet milk, but there’s no coconut or butterscotch. For anyone who doesn’t like coconut, you’re safe.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

To make them, I mad a base layer that’s similar to a cake-mix base I used in both Cookie Butter Funfetti Triple Chip Bars and Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars. I loved the later so much I included them in my cookbook. However, this is a from-scratch cake base. It provides a soft yet supportive foundation for the next layers.

To the base I added coarsely chopped graham cracker pieces, similar to Soft and Gooey Loaded Smores Bars. The graham crackers soften while baking and meld into the cake base, providing an extra level of chewiness.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

Then there’s chocolate chips sprinkled like in Cookie Butter Funfetti Triple Chip Bars, and finally the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk mixture is poured over the top. If you think sweetened condensed milk is good, try mixing it with peanut butter. Heavenly.

While baking, the top layer caramelizes a bit and turns slightly golden. If you’re an oven door-watcher, big air bubbles form while baking. Some of them pop, some don’t. Embrace the science experiment.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

After baking, you must let the bars cool for at least 3 hours, overnight is better. If you try to slice them sooner, you’ll have a literal hot mess that falls apart. They need some time to firm up before you can dig in.

They’re heavy, dense, very filling, and rich.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

They’re worth every last gooey bite.

Pass the napkins.

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars - Keep the napkins handy for these soft, gooey bars dripping with the best caramel-peanut butter sauce! So good!

Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars

The bars are a hybrid of so many favorites. They’re fast and easy to make, use only one bowl, no mixer, and are drippy, gooey, soft and slightly chewy, and loaded with chocolate chips. A cake-like base layer is topped with graham cracker pieces, chocolate chips, and flooded with a sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter mixture. While baking, the top layer caramelizes and turns slightly golden. If you’re an oven door-watcher, big air bubbles form while baking, and some pop, some don’t. After baking, you must let the bars cool for at least 3 hours, overnight is better. Slicing sooner will result in a huge mess because they need time to set up. They’re dense, filling, very rich, and so good.

Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional and to taste
4 graham crackers (standard graham crackers, about 3-inches by 5-inches), chopped into 1/2-inch square pieces (about 1 heaping cup loosely piled pieces)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. I strongly urge lining the pan with foil for easier cleanup.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix. Batter will be thick.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into the corners.
  6. Evenly sprinkle the graham cracker pieces over the top.
  7. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top; set aside.
  8. In a large mixing bowl (same one you already used is fine), add the sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, and whisk until smooth and combined (same whisk is fine).
  9. Slowly and evenly pour this liquid mixture over the bars, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula to disperse mixture into corners if necessary. If any graham cracker pieces have floated up or are jetting out, push them down so they don’t burn.
  10. Bake for about 28 to 31 minutes, or until top is set, slightly golden, and not jiggly. Be careful because bars will be prone to burning in the final moments of baking. A toothpick test won’t work because the interior stays gooey and moist, and the toothpick comes out looking wet, even when bars are done. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 3 hours, but overnight is better (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan in large Ziplock) before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Only Eats

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76 comments on “Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars”

  1. Sooo so gooey I’m in awe! I’m always impressed by that white surface and how it holds up beautifully to all the gooey treats. I know you said the varnish helps, I need to try your tricks!

    • I have a few white boards so they do get rotated in and out but honestly, no real special varnish. Gooey treats with sugar/sticky are actually way more forgiving to wood than greasy/savory ones I find!

  2. Oh goodness! I can’t even focus on what you wrote…so much ooey gooey going on! These will be going on the cheat meal list:)

  3. Oh my goodness…I think you’ve finally outdone yourself!! These look so ridiculously delicious, absolutely outstanding. I love pretty much all the same things as you, so these are like my heaven in a bar. That sweetened condensed milk and PB topping?! Amazing! Pinned :) and that ooey-gooeyness dripping…can’t even deal.

  4. Caramel and peanut butter…sounds interesting :) I should try this. Looks really good

  5. Caramel + peanut butter = a huge gigantic win!!! These look crazy awesome girl! Love the gooey amazing pics!!! Pinning for sure!

  6. love the caramel and pb…yum!

  7. Oh my gosh, my jaw just hit the floor. I love all of that gooey peanut butter mixture dripping down the sides. Can’t even handle it! What a fantastic idea to combine all your favorites into one bar. I can only image how amazing it is to bite into one of these. Good thing they’re calorie-free. :)

  8. I love EVERYTHING about these bars Averie! So many awesome flavors and oh-so gooey – perfection! Pinned my friend!

  9. These are kinda-sorta INCREDIBLE. I am dying over all the gooeiness happening. You are officially the Queen of Gooey. And that’s a very complimentary title if I say so!

  10. Could there be a more perfect bar? I don’t think so! Peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate? In a super gooey bar? I die. Too good!

  11. Wow Averie, this is the PERFECT hybrid treat!! Yummy!!

  12. Omg peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk are probably some of the best flavors around for dessert. Combining them both and topping your bars with them is nothing short of genius :)

  13. Well it’s official. After consuming every single bar recipe you have shared, I’m gonna have to get a one-piece this year. I feel it will be worth every bite. These look divine!

  14. These are definitely some of the gooiest bars I’ve seen and I love it!

  15. Ooooooh Averie! These are drop-dead-AMAZING. Need me like 3… now :)

  16. You’ve done it! I love that you took elements from your different, amazziiiinggg, bars to create these completely perfect, crazy delicious ones! SO GOOEY!

  17. When I see photos like these, I start to feel a little sorry for myself that I just can’t eat bars like that! Boy oh boy am I missing out and man oh man those look incredible. So do the carmelitas! At least I can bake these for the boys. It’s almost just as great as tasting them myself! Amazing photos and delicious looking recipe, Averie. I can’t wait to make these! :-)

    • I know your boys will love them and you’re awesome for baking for them, as always :) And yes, not being able to eat things…trust me, I have to be careful with stuff like this too because between the richness, gluten, dairy, eggs, a few bites is really all I can do or I will pay the price too!

  18. These bars look every kind of wonderful!

  19. Hi Averie, I just discovered your blog and I love it! Thanks for sharing this yummy looking recipe – I’ve actually been craving a PB treat to bake. And this one looks perfect!

  20. Hybrid desserts are the best, and I’m all for gooey caramely treats!

  21. These just look TOO good! I love the gooey caramel which you seem to aswell with all the other caramel bars you make :) Thanks for sharing! xx
    Anisa – The Macadame. xx
    http://www.creamstop.com

  22. Skip the napkins — just pass me the whole platter! ;) These look absolutely incredible Averie, a beautiful combination of the best things in the world of desserts. Chocolate, PB, graham crackers, ooey gooey ness… I think I just about died and went to heaven. Yum!

  23. Averie! These ooey gooey beautiful creamy luscious chewy bars have everything that I adore eating! Your photos are so beautiful – I can’t get over the caramel dripping out of each bar. And I’m sure you’re right about these being calorie-free ;)

  24. Oh dear – just made these and no visitors coming round – who is going to stop me eating the whole tray!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Caramel, PB, and chocolate chips in the same bar?! You have outdone yourself!

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