Brown sugar blondies topped with peanut butter filling, peanuts, and salted caramel.
If you follow me over on instagram, then you probably already know that my little family moved from Moab back to our home in Salt Lake City. It all happened very quickly, and though we miss the desert something fierce, we’re overjoyed to be back in the city. It’s almost like we never left.
The last month has been stressful, and my waistline shows it. I’m such a stress-eater and I’ve been eating my feelings in the form of burgers, pizza, ice cream, cookies, and too much wine.
These salted caramel peanut bars were one of the last recipes I photographed before packing up my studio, and the cookie-meets-candy bar combo really hit the spot. I have to admit it, I ate way too many of these:
We can’t move into the house until when?? Well, I guess I better eat another cookie bar!
These bars are made up of three layers— a simple brown sugar cookie base, a nougat-like filling made with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, peanuts, and a topping of caramel and sea salt. Yep, three layers of WOW. It’s a sweet-and-salty lover’s dream.
They’re a fun treat that everyone needs to make and enjoy once (or twice, or a hundred times, no judging).
Now that most of the moving boxes are unpacked and life is starting to slow down a bit, I’m trying to reign in the sweets some, but I can’t resist baking up a batch of these again asap. This time maybe I’ll share.
baking tip:Slicing cookie bars and brownies
Take these simple steps to get neat, pretty slices of cookie bars or brownies every time.
- Line baking pan with greased foil or parchment paper with overhanging sides to use as handles to easily lift bars out of the pan for slicing.
- Cool baked bars or brownies completely to room temperature before removing them from the pan. For softer bars, chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- Slice with a sharp serrated knife, wiping it clean between each cut.
Salted Caramel Peanut Bars
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (140 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Peanut butter filling:
- 1 7-oz jar (200 grams) marshmallow cream/fluff
- 1/2 cup (135 grams) creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup (95 grams) lightly salted peanuts
- 1 11-oz bag (310 grams) vanilla caramels, unwrapped
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
- Coarse salt or flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
To make the blondie base:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square pan with greased foil or parchment paper with overhanging sides.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until combined. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake until edges are golden and center is set, 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely.
To make the filling:
- Add the marshmallow cream and peanut butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 30-60 seconds until smooth and pourable. Stir in the powdered sugar. Spread evenly on top of the blondie base. Sprinkle the peanuts over the top.
To make the caramel topping:
- In a medium saucepan over medium low heat melt caramels with heavy cream until smooth. Alternatively, place both caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 60 seconds. Stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth.
- Immediately poor caramel over the top of the bars, using a spatula if needed to spread it evenly. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes until filling and topping are set.
- Use overhanging foil or parchment to lift bars out the pan, and slice as desired. Bars are best stored in the fridge.
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