Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (Millionaire Bars)
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Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars – Traditionally known as “Millionaire Bars,” we’ve elevated classic chocolate and caramel shortbread cookie bars by adding luscious, rich peanut butter to the recipe.
Millionaire Shortbread? Let’s Make That Billionaire Bars…
Do you need a treat? Of course you do!
I love classic Millionaire Bars with a shortbread layer, a rich caramel layer, and fudgy chocolate on top. They are wonderfully indulgent and absolutely make you feel like you are living luxuriously!
But believe it or not, I have figured out how to make gooey chocolate caramel cookie bars even more amazing. This recipe should be called Billionaire Bars, because we have added an all-American ingredient that is so beloved, it’s become a multi-billion-dollar industry… Peanut Butter.
Let’s be honest, peanut butter makes everything better. Am I right?!?
Caramel Cookie Bars AKA “Millionaire Bars” with Peanut Butter
While these cookie bars have more ingredients than traditional Millionaire Shortbread Bars, they are just as easy to make.
Instead of creating unnecessary layers and steps, I’ve turned the classic caramel layer into a caramel peanut butter fudge. The result is this fantastic recipe for Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars.
They are velvety-sweet, perfectly nutty, and a must-make to cure your next sweet tooth craving!
What Ingredients You Need
These creamy, gooey, tender Millionaire Bars are made up of three simple layers.
Here is what you need to make each section…
- Brown sugar
- Egg yolk
- Cake flour (or all-purpose flour + cornstarch)
- Cold water
What you need for the caramel peanut butter layer:
- Powdered sugar
- Creamy peanut butter
- Canned dulce de leche
- Vanilla extract
Ingredients needed to make the chocolate topping:
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Heavy cream
- Corn syrup
How to Make Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
This cookie bar recipe does include a few key steps, but they are all very simple. Whip up a batch with the kids for a weekend project that’s as fun to make as it is delicious to eat!
First, make the Millionaire Shortbread Crust:
- First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and set out a 9X13 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Cut the butter into cubes, and place in a large food processor along with brown sugar, egg yolk, cake flour, and salt. Pulse unto a fine crumb, and then add cold water and pulse again until the dough forms. It will be crumbly, but should stick together with pressed. If needed, add more water and pulse again.
- Dump the dough into the prepared pan. Press into a tight even layer.
- Then bake for about 30 minutes, until the top of the shortbread is golden.
Then, prepare the Caramel Peanut Butter Layer:
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add the powdered sugar, peanut butter, dulce de leche, and butter. Microwave for 1 minute, and stir to combine. Continue microwaving and stirring in short bursts until smooth. Then, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Scoop the thick, luscious caramel peanut butter fudge over the cookie layer. Smooth to make even.
- Place in the fridge until the chocolate layer is ready.
Lastly, make the silky Chocolate Topping: In a clean microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and corn syrup, if using. Microwave in one-minute increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate ganache is very smooth. Then pour over the chilled caramel layer, spreading into an even layer.
Chill for at least 2 hours to set. Once the layers are chilled and firm, lift the entire sheet of bars out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper.
Cut the Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars into 12 large bars, or 30 small bars. Depending on if and how much you plan to share. *wink*
How Long Can You Keep Peanut Butter Caramel Millionaire Bars?
You want to store these in an airtight container either in a cool, dry place in the kitchen or in the fridge. They will keep well for at least a week!
These cookie bars are also great for freezing for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
Can I Make Caramel Cookie Bars With Other Nut Butters?
Yes, you can make your own Millionaire Shortbread variation! You can nix the peanut butter and swap it with allergy-friendly creamy cashew butter, almond butter, or even sunflower butter.
Looking for More Delicious Desserts?
- Strawberry Brownies with Chocolate Brownie Frosting
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Cookies
- Gooey Caramel Brownies
- The Best Lemon Bars Recipe
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (Millionaire Bars)
For the Crust:
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour (or 2 cups a.p. flour + ¼ cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 teaspoon cold water
For the Caramel Peanut Butter Layer:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 14 ounce can dulce de leche
- ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Topping:
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out a 9X13 inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
- For the Crust: Cut the butter into cubes. Place the butter cubes, brown sugar, egg yolk, cake flour, and salt in a large food processor. Pulse unto a fine crumb. Then add 4 teaspoons cold water and pulse again until the dough comes together. It should still be crumbly, but should stick together with pressed. If needed, add another teaspoon of water and pulse again.
- Dump the dough into the prepared pan. Press into a tight even layer. Then bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden.
- For the Caramel Peanut Butter Layer: In a microwave-safe bowl, add the powdered sugar, peanut butter, dulce de leche, and butter. Microwave for one minute. Stir to combine. Microwave one more minute, if needed, then stir until the mixture is smooth. Then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Scoop the caramel peanut butter fudge over the cookie layer. Smooth into an even layer. Chill until the chocolate layer is ready.
- For the Chocolate Topping: In a clean microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and corn syrup. Microwave in one minute increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate ganache is very smooth. Then pour over the caramel layer and spread into an even layer.
- Chill for at least 2 hours to set. Then lift the entire sheet of bars out of the pan, by the edges of the parchment paper. Cut into 12 large bars or 30 small bars.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
These layers turned out beautiful at my house too. Perfect textures!
Your layers look absolutely perfect! Thanks for your tip about chilling them before cutting. I want mine to look just like yours. Love it!
These are so good! And addicting…I really need to learn to control myself around these! ;)