Not sure about you, but I’m ALL about making homemade Halloween candy. Sure, regular candy is great, but homemade is so much more fun! The perfect October weekend baking activity (along with carving pumpkins, of course).
These Cookie Bars are an obvious choice. What’s not to love about shortbread, caramel and chocolate? These are even better than the original because they’re made with a secret ingredient: Litehouse® Pumpkin Spice Caramel! It’s such a tasty seasonal treat, packed with warming fall spices that perfectly complement the sweet caramel.
The pumpkin spice caramel dip is delicious with plain old apples, but it’s also fun to incorporate into a few different recipes this fall. Drizzle some over your favorite ice cream (or popcorn!), spread onto French toast, waffles or pancakes, or make these Pumpkin Spice Caramel Chocolate Cups that we shared last fall!
These homemade chocolate caramel cookie bar copycats require a bit of patience, but they’re actually pretty easy to make. Here’s how we do it:
First up, we start with a simple shortbread layer. I used my dad’s family recipe for this. His family is from Scotland, and it’s a recipe that’s been passed down over the years! It never disappoints. So buttery and delicious!
Homemade shortbread is just four simple ingredients: flour, sugar, corn starch and butter. No eggs needed. To make the dough, be sure to soften the butter until it reaches room temp, otherwise it won’t fully incorporate in the flour.
Instead of using a mixer, my dad’s recipe instructs you to use your hands to work the dough into a ball. This prevents you from overworking the gluten in the dough, so you have a buttery, soft cookie.
Once the dough comes together, press it into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan in a flat layer. It’s important to prick the dough with the tines of a fork before baking. This prevents it from rising (and gives it that quintessential shortbread look!). Once the shortbread layer is baked, give it some time to cool before adding the caramel.
Once cooled, use a spatula to evenly spread a layer of pumpkin spice caramel over the shortbread. Transfer to the freezer for at least a half hour, then melt chocolate, spread over caramel and return to the freezer until solid.
You’ll need a pretty sharp knife to cut these into bars, but it’s totally fine if they get a bit messy! Unlike store-bought cookie bars, these just have a chocolate layer instead of being completely encased in chocolate. If you’d prefer, you can dip the entire bar in chocolate, but be warned, it gets pretty messy.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. (But we doubt they’ll last that long.) Happy Halloween!