Chocolate and Caramel Chip Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

Christmastime means a lot of things to me, one of them being freshly baked cookies to give out as gifts to friends, neighbors and especially to share at parties. These Chocolate and Caramel Chip Cookie Bars stay super soft so they hold up well traveling, or contained until ready to eat (that is if they last longer than a day!)

Written by: Carla of Carla’s Confections Blog

If I could only give out one type of gift for Christmas (and I suppose why couldn’t I??), it would be homemade gifts for everyone.

Not because I’m cheap – or is it???

No really! I just looooooooove receiving homemade gifts for Christmas, so I guess I just want to assume everyone else does too. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I am a huge fan of gift baskets with cooking essential assortments, baskets for the coffee lovers, pampering packages in a mason jar, and of course, who doesn’t love to receive a basket of homemade cookies and chocolates?!?

If anyone wouldn’t want to get that as a gift – well then you won’t get one from me. And that’s that!

But I hope you do!

The thing I look for in gifting cookie recipes is the durability and freshness of the cookie. I don’t want a cookie falling apart in transit and I definitely don’t want said cookie becoming hard as rock by the time you take that first (hopefully) luscious bite.

Enter cream cheese!

Seriously. This stuff is wonderful in cookie recipes. It fulfills both requirements of durability and freshness/softeness. You will not want to miss out on this stuff in your baking this Christmas!

And one more little tip I will leave you with when it comes to holiday baking – if you are baking a lot of cookie recipes, make your cookies into cookie bars instead. Only one batch of baking, and you can cut them into as big or small of pieces as you like, so you can still end up with a lot of cookies. And so much easier on your hands!

What are your holiday baking tips?

Chocolate and Caramel Chip Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

Yield: 12-24 bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Total Time: 45-50 minutes

These soft and chewy cookie bars will make the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list! And they stay fresh for a long time!

Ingredients:

1 stick salted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (full-fat)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 oz bag Dark Chocolate Thick Morsels
1/2 cup caramel bits

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F, and spray a 9x13 baking sheet (larger if you want thinner cookies) with non-stick spray.

In a measuring bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat both butter, cream cheese and both sugars on medium high until well combined and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Keep mixer on low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Add in chocolate morsels and caramel bits and only mix to barely combine. Turn off mixer.

Turn out cookie mixture onto cookie sheet and spread out until touching all the sides of the pan and mixture is even all around.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (less time if using a very large baking sheet. Keep an eye on it), until just starting to golden on the edges. You don't want to over bake these. Soft middle is perfect.

Remove, allow to cool, cut into desired squares and store in an airtight container. These will keep for a while, so they are perfect for gifting!

Slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

by Carla Walker

Carla is the baker/photographer/writer behind Carla's Confections, where she shares her passion for the sweet and savory things in life. She likes to health-ify her treats where she can, but she also can't help indulging in some decadent sweets from time to time. When she is not blogging, you will most likely find her chasing her husband all over the world.