Cookies and Cream Caramel Layer Bars start with a layer of Pillsbury Cookies ‘n Creme cookie dough, topped with a layer of caramel, chopped pecans, frosting, then finished with melted Cookies ‘n Creme candy bars. I hope your sweet tooth is ready!
Remember a couple months ago when I told you about the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest? Julia and I made Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cups.
Well, the votes are in and the category winners have been announced.
These super sweet Cookies and Cream Caramel Layer Bars were the winner in the No-Fuss Desserts category.
They really are no-fuss, being that they’re semi-homemade. Very minimal bake time, just a little preparation is needed to make the layers.
Sandy, their creator, first started making them for bake sales, auctions, and parties when her children were young.
Bars are perfect because they don’t take very long and you get to slice them up and easily serve a crowd.
You only have about 18 minutes of baking time, the rest is done in the microwave, which makes these Cookies and Cream Caramel Layer Bars really easy, and perfect for kids to help with.
Ingredients needed for Cookies and Cream Caramel Layer Bars
- Pillsbury Big Deluxe HERSHEY’S Cookies ‘n Creme cookie dough – these are “break and bakes” found in the refrigerated dessert section
- Cocoa Powder – I use Hershey’s Special Dark but regular unsweetened will work.
- Caramel Bits – If you can’t find these in the baking aisle, sometimes they’re in the candy aisle of the market.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – Sometimes just called heavy cream.
- Pecans – Pecan chips or chopped pecans, depending on how large you want the pieces.
- Butter – Unsalted butter.
- Powdered Sugar – Also sometimes called confectioners’ sugar.
- Cookies ‘n Creme candy bars – These are made by Hershey’s and you’ll need three 1.55 oz bars.
How to make Cookies and Cream Bars
STEP ONE: First, to a medium bowl, crumble up the cookie dough and add the cocoa powder. Mix it together until fully combined and then press it into a layer in an 8×8 baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake in a preheated oven for 18 minutes at 350°. Once done, let it cool for 20 minutes.
STEP TWO: While the first layer is cooling, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the caramel bits and two tablespoons of heavy cream. Heat on HIGH for 1.5-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth and evenly melted. Spread the caramel onto the cookie base and immediately sprinkle with pecan chips. Let set for approximately 20 minutes.
STEP THREE: While the caramel layer is setting, to another microwave-safe bowl, melt 6TB of butter, pour in the powdered sugar and remaining heavy cream. Stir together until smooth and then pour onto the caramel layer. Refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour.
STEP FOUR: In a small microwave-safe bowl, break up the candy bars and add 2 TB of butter and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until fully melted and smooth. Spread over the chilled bars.
STEP FIVE: Refrigerate the prepared bars for at least 2 hours or until the center is firm then slice into 32 bars (8 rows by 4 rows).
They will also certainly satisfy your sweet tooth with the cookie layer, caramel layer, frosting layer, and candy bar layer!
This recipe is made in an 8″ x 8″ pan but you get 32 bars out of it because they’re so rich – a small bar is all you need.
There is a bit of waiting time between the layers so I started them at night and finished them off in the morning. Whichever way you do it, they’re easy.
Tools found on Amazon to help you
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Cookies ‘n Creme Caramel Layer Bars
- 16 oz Pillsbury™ Big Deluxe™ HERSHEY'S Cookies ‘n Creme cookie dough
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 11 oz caramel bits
- 8 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup pecan chips or chopped pecans
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Hershey's Cookies 'n Creme candy bars (Three 1.55 oz bars), broken into pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Lightly spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, crumble the cookie dough and add the cocoa powder. Stir until fully combined then press evenly into the bottom of your prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until set then remove and let cool for 20 minutes.
- In a medium microwaveable bowl, add the caramel bits and 2 Tablespoons of the heavy whipping cream. Microwave on high for 1.5-2.5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.
- Spread the caramel onto the cooled cookie base then sprinkle with the pecan chips.
- Cool for approximately 20 minutes or until the caramel is set.
- In another medium microwaveable bowl, melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter in the microwave. Pour in the powdered sugar and remaining 6 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Stir together until smooth.
- Pour over the pecan layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula then refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour.
- In a small microwaveable bowl, add the broken candy bars and remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter and microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
- Spread evenly over the chilled bars.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or until the center is firm.
- Cut into rows – 8 x 4 – making 32 bars.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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This post was sponsored by Pillsbury, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. Originally published Jan. 31, 2018.