For these moments, I love something chewy and chocolatey with a surprise element like boozy cherries or a molten center that pleasantly delights when you take that first bite. I found the ideal choice in my Dark Chocolate Caramel Ooey Gooey Bars recipe. Not only are these lovely bars chewy and chocolatey, they have a luscious caramel filling that melts in the mouth with each bite. Now that’s my kind of dessert.
This lovely recipe is essentially a cookie dough pressed into the bottom of a baking pan, drizzled with rich caramel sauce, and topped with another layer of cookie dough before being baked into fragrant bars that are crunchy on the outside, chewy when you bite through, and oh so gooey in the middle.
The secret is in using melted butter in the dough instead of creaming it. You can use plain melted butter, or spend the extra time simmering it on the stove until it becomes brown butter. This adds an extra layer of fragrant, caramel, nutty decadence that permeates the dough and mingles with the caramel sauce.
Less Is More
This ooey gooey bars recipe can be quite sweet, so I reduce the amount of sugar I use, and let other items bring their own unique sweetness.
Chocolate plays an essential role in these bars. Mixed into the dough, they melt beautifully and add both color and texture to the dessert. Rather than traditional chocolate chips, I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks. I find their intense chocolate flavor is a much better fit with the caramel sauce.
Rich caramel sauce, marries with the warm chocolate chunks to provide the gooey in these ooey gooey bars. You can keep things easy for yourself and use a bottle of premade caramel sauce or if you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent, try the recipe we use for our heavenly Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce. A little goes a long way in this recipe, so don’t be too heavy-handed or you’ll find yourself with bars so sweet they make your teeth hurt.
Tasty Tea Pairings
I like to serve these bars with a strong black tea like our Oregon Breakfast Black Tea with hazelnut and orange, Vanilla Latte tea with cardamom and vanilla creme, or Comfort Blend Black tea with orange and cinnamon. If you prefer herbal varieties, our Vanilla Creme herbal tea would pair nicely, or Easy Like Sunday Morning with notes of chocolate and lavender.
Dark Chocolate Caramel Ooey Gooey Bars Recipe
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3 cups white flour
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2-3/4 cup caramel sauce
Grease 9x13-inch baking pan or line with baking paper, and set aside.
Pour hot, melted butter into heat-proof mixing bowl, add white and brown sugars, and stir well to combine.
In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
Retrieve butter and sugar mixture, add eggs and beat well to combine. Add vanilla and beat well.
Add flour mixture and stir until no dry flour is visible.
Press half of mixture into bottom of pan and partway up the sides.
Drizzle caramel sauce over the bottom layer, making sure not to overflow edge.
Add remaining dough in pieces, pressing into place with hands until it evenly covers the caramel sauce. Set pan in fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top begins to brown. Remove from oven, cool pan on baking rack, and serve warm or cold.