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Thick and chewy turtle cookie bars! The base of this recipe is a chocolate chip cookie then you split the dough in half and add gooey caramel and crunchy pecans to the middle. It’s such a delicious and easy dessert!

Thick and chewy turtle cookie bars spread out on a counter
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It’s almost always cookies around here. And while it still is, I wanted to switch it up a little bit by bringing you a cookie bar. Still made with all the cookie ingredients, just in a different format!

  • Easy to make
  • No chilling the dough
  • Gooey caramel center
  • Chewy dough
  • Kids love them!
  • Great ot make ahead and freeze!

Love cookie bars? You’re going to love these s’mores cookie bars and peanut butter bars too.

sheet of Thick and chewy turtle cookie bars before being cut on a piece of parchment paper

Looking for another bar? Try chai white chocolate brownies, paleo pumpkin bars, or vegan pumpkin cheesecake next.

Ingredients You Need

Here are the simple ingredients for these cookie bars. Jump to recipe for exact measurements.

  • Flour: you can also make these 1:1 gluten-free flour.
  • Baking soda: to help them rise.
  • Cornstarch: makes cookie bars really soft and chewy!
  • Unsalted butter: melted butter gives them extra chew.
  • Sugar: a mixture of brown sugar and granulated sugar for sweetness.
  • Eggs: I used one egg and one egg yolk to make them rich and chewy.
  • Vanilla and salt: for flavor.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips:
  • Chewy caramels: store bought caramels makes this a no-fail recipe.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: to melt down with the caramel for extra gooey texture.
  • Pecans: it wouldn’t be turtle without them!
Three thick and chewy turtle cookie bars stacked on top of each other

I love cookie bars because you can make them extra chewy without worrying about them spreading too much. There are a number of things in these chewy turtle cookie bars that make them extra chewy:

  • This recipe calls for melted butter which gives cookies an extra chew, but if you aren’t careful in a regular cookie it can spread too much. So using it for bars is ideal!
  • The recipe also calls for an extra egg yolk. Some extra fat content in there and the removal of the egg white (which makes thing cakey) is the trick here.
  • Cornstarch is another ingredient that makes baked goods nice and chewy! An extra tender baked good is what you get!

Needless to say, this recipe has a lot of chew! Add in that caramel layer and it’s chew to the max.

Two thick and chewy turtle cookie bars with the top one with a bite out of it

Speaking of that caramel. It’s SUPER simple. You’re going to melt soft caramels with some sweetened condensed until goeey and drizzle/spread it over half of the cookie dough. Then sprinkle with pecans and cover with the other half of the cookie dough.

The way to get the top part of the cookie dough on is by breaking it up into small bits until it’s completely covered. The dough will spread in the oven so don’t worry about some of the gaps you leave.

Bake it for 30-ish minutes and you’re good! I’d recommend letting this cool completely before you cut it. The caramel and cookie will be really soft and gooey, so letting it cool will make it easier to cut evenly. You can throw it in the fridge for a bit to speed up the process.

Three thick and chewy turtle cookie bars with caramel oozing over the top and down the sides

You can freeze these turtle cookie bars for up to 3 months! I just threw some in my freezer today.

Hope you love this recipe! If you do, don’t forget to give me a virtual high five and follow on Instagram. I hang out there every day!

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5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

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Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 9 oz chewy caramels
  • ½ can of 14oz sweeteend condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack to the middle position. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan parchment paper, leaving an overhang to lift the bars out after baking. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until any clumps are gone. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk then the vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer half of the dough into the prepared baking pan and press/smooth into an even layer. Set aside to make the caramel filling.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk and unwrapped caramels frequently until melted and smooth. Pour the filling over the cookie dough base.
  • Sprinkle the caramel with the chopped pecans. Drop the remaining cookie dough over the caramel and pecan filling in small teaspoon-sized clumps. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges or if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It’s okay if there’s caramel on the toothpick.
  • Allow the bars to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1-2 hours. Lift the chewy turtle cookie bars out of the pan using the parchment overhang and cut into bars when ready to serve.
  • Store in an ait tight container in at room temperature for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!