Caramel Bars with Crumb Topping

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This might be my new favorite dessert recipe:  Caramel Crumb Bars 

Caramel Bars

It’s no secret that I’m completely obsessed with caramel.  Anything with caramel is such a draw for me… warm caramel syrup served over ice cream, good, old-fashioned, soft caramel candies, salted caramel ice cream and desserts just like these bars.  The only caramel dessert that isn’t so exciting to me is a caramel apple.  I like apples.  And I love caramels, but the thought of trying to bite into a caramel covered apple with drool dribbling down my chin is not a pretty one.

How to Make Caramel Bars

How to make these guys:  Press 3/4 of the base dough into the bottom of a pan.  Whip up a VERY SIMPLE homemade caramel recipe (in the instructions below!), spread that around on top of the dough, then top with some crumbled dough.  That’s it!  Into the oven it goes.

Caramel Bars Recipe
In the oven, the caramel magically starts to really look like the caramel you know and love– a golden brown color.

Caramel Bars #Recipe with Crumb Topping

I promise it will come out ooey and gooey and everything you love about caramel.  When you bite into a bar, the caramel is soft and buttery and pulls apart easily.  These are majorly addicting.

Caramel Crumble Bars #recipe -

This recipe makes quite a few bars- 24 to be exact, if you follow the 2×2-inch instructions for cutting.  They’re a terrific bar for bringing to a potluck, and I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll be a hit at any party.  I personally couldn’t stop eating them.

But then again… I’ve already professed my love for all things caramel! Now go make some Caramel Bars!

Caramel- Crumble Bars

Yield: 24 bars

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 30 min


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Then line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper- allowing excess parchment paper to come up two sides, and spray again (lightly).

2. Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the butter, sugar and salt. Beat at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is soft, light and combined well. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually mix in 2 1/4 cups of the flour, and beat until well-incorporated. Scrape the sides, as needed. Transfer 3/4 of the dough to the prepared pan. Use clean hands to press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the topping. Work the remaining 1/4 cup flour into the remaining dough with your fingers so that it forms small crumbs. Set aside.

3. Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the filling ingredients. Heat over medium-heat, stirring occasionally. Let the mixture gently boil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken and darken slightly. Pour the mixture into a bowl to cool for at least 5 minutes.

4. Assemble the bars: Pour the cooled filling on top of the chilled dough, then scatter the crumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling bubbles gently and is a deep caramel color and the dough and crumb topping are baked through. Cool in the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the sides of the pan to loosen the bars. Then use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the slab of bars into 2-inch squares.


*These bars freeze well. Just wrap them well, and freeze for up to 2 months.

SOURCE: (found on circa 2008)

More caramel-themed bars you might enjoy:
Salty Caramel Peanut Bars by Cookies & Cups
Chocolate Caramel Bars by Taste and Tell
Caramel- Pecan Bars with Chocolate Drizzle by RecipeGirl
Pumpkin- Caramel Bars with Bacon by Noble Pig
Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars by Kitchen Meets Girl


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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • Diane wrote:

    These bars are to die for! Love, love, love them.

  • Albert Allbritton wrote:

    I guess I must have done something wrong.  I would have never known these were supposed to be caramel flavored.  The taste of the sweetened condenses milk came through, but the caramel did not.   It would seem to me that 1/4 cup of brown sugar is simply not enough.  I have tossed this recipe.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Did they turn out like the photo? I can’t believe you tossed this one… these were a big hit with folks around my house!

  • Kathie wrote:

    I made these yesterday though they are delicious I OVER baked. Each time i checked them they seemed very gooey (which is a good thing) but not cooked completely.
    When cooking the caramel it got very brown, should the caramel get brown on the stovetop or while in the oven?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Mine did not get terribly brown. Became more golden brown as it baked.

  • Kelly – Life Made Sweeter wrote:

    Oh my, I am a sucker for anything caramel too and this pan would definitely not last long at my house! Ooey gooey and a crumb topping? Sign me up – they look fantastic Lori!

  • Carla wrote:

    I’m with you, Lori – mention caramel to me and I’m hooked! Genius idea to turn combine caramel with crumb bars.

  • Joanne wrote:

    I’ve made these before and LOVED them! They are one of my favorite caramel treats!

  • Amanda wrote:

    Oh my word, I’m dying! Totally love this!

  • Sandy @ RE wrote:

    Love this … anything caramel is perfect. Love your recipes, girl!

  • Laura Dembowski wrote:

    Thsee look fabulous! I’m a huge fan of anything caramel too. I do like caramel apples, but only if I make them. Then I can add extra caramel 🙂

  • Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust wrote:

    Oh, these are fantastic Lori!!! LOVE them. Pinned!

  • marcie wrote:

    I can’t seem to get enough caramel these days, so these bars sound SO good! Pinning. 🙂

  • Liz wrote:

    I love these bars. Thank you.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks wrote:

    I love bars like this! The crumble, the caramel, yes, I want! 🙂

  • Linda wrote:

    They look delicious! They remind me of date squares just by the way they look. I love date squares, but I also love caramel. I will have to try these. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet wrote:

    I could eat a dozen of these! Pinned!

  • Eli@coachdaddy wrote:

    These look incredible. I thought at first, there’s no way I could make these. But as I read through the ingredients and instructions … I got this crazy sense of confidence I could pull it off. We’ll see!

  • Nancy Long wrote:

    I noticed you got this from the Washington Post – one of my fave food sections in a paper and miss it a lot. Shoot I miss the DC area a lot! At least most of my kids are still there.

  • Laura @ Raise Your Garden wrote:

    Anything with caramel wins my heart (especially this time of year) but I love that crumb topping….beyond yummy. And the bar shape gets me too, I love square desserts. Basically, I love everything about these bars.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar wrote:

    Crumb toppings make everything better! Loving it on the caramel!