Caramel Crumble Bars

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!Ah, now this is my favorite time of the year!  The weather (in theory) should be cooling off soon.  (Well, that is unless you live in the South where cool weather is still 3 months away).  The leaves are just thinking about turning colors.  And college football is back on television.  You guys should know by now that I love my college football!  If it weren’t for those pesky errands that pop up on the weekends, then I’d probably watch college football for 12 hours every Saturday.  Instead, I only manage to get about 8 hours in instead.  Hah…I kid!  (Maybe…)

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!Prior to starting this blog, I worked in higher education administration.  More specifically, I worked in academic integrity and then moved over to work in college athletics.  As it turns out, I didn’t enjoy working in college athletics as much as I thought I would.  I’ll jump into a conversation about higher ed policy (especially pertaining to college athletics) with you any day, but I just didn’t enjoy the reality of what I saw while working in a big-time college athletics program.  But that’s ok…because that eventually led me to the world of food blogging.  And food blogging is awesome!

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!Speaking of colleges and higher education, have you guys ever heard of the Beloit Mindset List?  Beloit College in Wisconsin releases an updated list every year, and it provides an interesting perspective on the incoming class of freshmen.

For instance, most freshmen heading into college this year were born in 1997.  (Seriously…1997!?)  Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau and Mother Teresa have never been alive in their lifetimes.  Most college freshmen have never licked a postage stamp.  Phish Food has always been a Ben & Jerry’s flavor.

Oh, and then there’s my personal favorite.  The NCAA has always had a precise means for selecting a college football national champion.  (Really?  Because last I checked, that “precise means” is still up for serious debate every.single.season.)  But I still enjoy checking out the Beloit List every year.  It’s some great food for thought on the mindset of college-aged students here in the States.

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!Speaking of food for thought, how about some food for eating?  Like maybe these amazingly tasty Caramel Crumble Bars?  I was in the mood for some sort of bar-style dessert the other day, so I decided to create something with a nice layer of crumbly deliciousness on top.  And to provide some structure to the bars, I started with a nice thick graham cracker crust.  But the real star of these bars?  The gooey caramel layer in the center!

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!Instead of making caramel, I went with a bit of an easier approach.  I used Caramel Macchiato creamer from International Delight®.  I added a bit of brown sugar and butter and then just let that mixture boil gently until it thickened up a bit.  Pour that gooey caramel goodness on top of the graham cracker crust and top it with a generous layer of crumbles…and you end up with one heck of an awesome bar-style dessert!

What are you most excited about for the Fall?

And more importantly, have you ever licked a postage stamp?

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!

Caramel Crumble Bars

Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 350kcal

Ingredients

For the Caramel Filling

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup Caramel Macchiato creamer

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 7 full-sized graham crackers
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted

For the Bars

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Caramel Macchiato creamer
  • cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

For the Caramel Filling

  • Place all ingredients (butter, sugar and creamer) in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. (Tip: The mixture will expand as it boils, so go with a large saucepan in this step!)
  • Reduce heat until mixture is boiling gently. Boil for 15 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken and turn darker in color.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line an 8”x8” pan with parchment paper so that the paper extends over the sides on all sides of the pan. (Tip: This will make it much easier to remove the bars from the pan once baked.)
  • In a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
  • Press graham cracker mixture into bottom of prepared pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.) Set pan aside.

For the Bars

  • Using a countertop mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (~3 minutes on medium-high speed).
  • Add creamer and flour and mix on low speed until smooth dough forms.
  • Press about 1/3 of the dough into the pan (on top of the graham cracker crust). Place remaining dough in the refrigerator.
  • Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven. Pour Caramel Filling into pan. Crumble remaining dough evenly across top of filling.
  • Return pan to the oven and bake for 35-38 more minutes, or until top begins to turn light golden brown in color.
  • Remove pan from oven and let cool before slicing and serving. (Tip: Go ahead and slice the bars while they are still warm. It will make removing the bars from the pan much easier!)

This conversation is sponsored by International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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27 Comments

  1. I’m not an expert in college football, but I’m an expert in licking postage stamps! I remember in Russia few years back you could easily find them. I don’t think anything has changed! Very advanced country, haha. As for fall, I love it for the fall foliadge, the sound of leaves under your feet, and the way leaves smell when they’re slightly wet. Sure, as a cook, I love it for some comfort foods and seasonal produce – apples, pumpkins…mmm I’m already dreaming of pumpkin mac and cheese! Plus, I love using beautiful leaves as my photo props. Well, if you ever see a wierdo gathering the leaves in a park near your house, that might be me having crossed the USA/Canada border while looking for the perfect leaves! That’s not dangerous, especially if you have some lavender scones to feed this weirdo!:) Lastly, sure I look forward to #thefallrecipesonthespicedblog. I bet you’re going to share with some amazing stuff, right David? What about #lavenderstuffedthanksgivingturkey?

    1. Oh man, I couldn’t agree more…the leaves are one of the best parts about Fall. Except when you have to rake up huge piles of them from your yard. That’s not as much fun! I do indeed have some fun Fall-themed recipes lined up for the coming months…but sadly lavender-stuffed turkey is not on the list. (Although you did make me laugh when I read that!) Thanks so much, Ben…and happy Fall!

  2. I live in the south and it was 59 degrees in my neck of the woods last Wednesday! BRRR!!! Thankfully, we shook that off and were a lovely 72 degrees this morn! Though, I so wish we had 3 more months of temps in the 90s!
    Now I would lovelovelove to know how a job in a college athletics program lead you to food blogging…though, I gotta admit, I am surprised “Food blogging” wasn’t on the Mindset List – or did I miss it?
    One thing hard to miss is that gooey layer of caramel in these bars! What a fantastic idea to use ID creamer to make it! These would be perfect for dessert after breakfast – am sending my drone over – he is set to steal and flee!

    1. 59°! Is the Celsius or Fahrenheit?? Hah! Food blogging should totally be on the Mindset List. I mean talk about a profession that just didn’t exist several years ago! Whenever we meet up in NYC, I’ll have to share my experiences from working in college athletics. I worked at a large engineering university in Atlanta (hmmm…I wonder which one…), and let’s just say Journal Constitution would have a field day if they knew the stuff happening inside that place! I’d much rather sit back and make caramel bars instead! Hey, was that your drone I saw buzzing outside my window earlier? Tsk. Tsk. I locked my doors.

  3. These bars look amazing! I need to learn how to get mine out of the pan and cut as pretty as these.

    Like you I am stoked about college football season!! I spend the majority of my Saturday watching games too! 🙂 Go Tigers!!

    1. So the secret to getting bars out of the pan? Either overlap parchment paper on all 4 sides and lift the entire thing out before cutting ’em…or just grab a brownie pan with a removable bottom. I’ve been using Fat Daddio’s 8″ removable bottom pan, and it works like a charm!

      Ah, but the real question here is which Tigers are you referring to? There’s good Tigers and bad Tigers…and I’m really hoping you are referring to the good Tigers! 🙂

  4. These bars look dangerously addictive! I’ll have to give them a try once the cooler weather arrives – it’s too hot this week to turn on the oven. I’ve definitely licked many stamps back in the day…and it’s always a shock to learn when college freshmen were born (1997?!). I was teaching freshmen last year and was always afraid I’d make references that no one would understand (“Bueller…?”).

    1. Yeah, tell me about it! It’s oddly still very warm here for this time of the year. I didn’t want to turn the oven on either…but I got over it since I wanted these bars, darn it! 🙂

      Oh my gosh…they didn’t catch the Bueller reference? That makes me cry a little bit. Did you read the slang expressions at the bottom of that list? I haven’t heard of most of those…when did I get so old??

  5. Hi David! Gooey caramel bars would not last long here! I’d have to throw on some chopped pecans (or perhaps some crumbled bacon). 🙂 Do you think those kids can do math without a calculator? I learned to type on a manual typewriter – OMG I’m a dinosaur!

    1. These bars lasted all of about an hour around here, Dorothy! Of course, we did have some friends over to help polish them off. Even I can’t finish an entire pan of caramel bars in an hour…well, I don’t think I can. Hmmm…haha! Manual typewriter?? What’s that?? 😉

  6. oh you and College football. One day I’ll watch a game….or at last more than the kiss cam.

    I can’t believe the 1997 stories….I still to this day remember the Princess Diana saga! Also, please tell me your a Seinfeld fan…Ever since a certain episode, I stopped licking the stamps lol! Anyway this recipe has left me drooling- I’d eat the centre and then well…do it again.

    1. I suspect that living in Columbus you will be forced to watch a game by that team that people *think* is actually good there. (P.S. They aren’t that good!)

      Oh course I’m a Seinfeld fan…I’m glad to hear you got that one in Australia! I didn’t even think about the Seinfeld licking stamps episode…now I am sitting here cracking up. Man, I miss that show! Poor Susan…

  7. David, love these crumble bars! the crumb coating gets me every time! and I’ve never heard of the Beloit Mindset List. Just clicked over and it says, as long as these kids have been on the planet: Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced, Google has always been there and they have never licked a postage stamp!!! this is great!

    1. Yeah, that mindset list is really pretty fun. It comes out every August for the incoming class of college freshman. Even though I don’t work in higher ed anymore, I still try to remember to google the list every year. But man, it will make you feel old fast…time for another crumble bar! 🙂

  8. Um, so first of all, thanks so much for reminding me of how OLD I am! Princess Diana? Totally miss her. Talk about class. I also worked in higher education administration which drove me to law school. Was that a good decision? Who knows, but these caramel crumble bars are!

    1. I know! I can’t believe how old I am, too. I still remember watching the news about Princess Di. But that Mindset List is still pretty interesting every year. I had no idea you also worked in higher ed administration! It drove me to food blogging and it drove you to law school…haha! Let’s just grab some beers and crumble bars and share war stories from our days in higher ed?? 🙂

  9. Love the history lesson about Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau and Mother Teresa, and aren’t the sticky stamps the best? No more licking that stuff.

    As for the heat, San Diego is is supposed to be 94°F today and it’s already 84° at 8:20AM! Crazy, like these bars… that crumb topping. I’m a sucker for a crumb topping and the idea for the caramel is genius! Well done… I made a bar cookie this weekend that was WAY over the top even for me. 🙂 More of that to come later though.

    Also, I am sad to say that your name was not, but Dorothy’s name was, pulled from the baseball hat for the King Arthur Gift card… so I am thinking eating one of these Caramel Crumble Bars would help soothe any pain, sorry buddy. 🙂

    1. 94 in San Diego?? I thought you guys were like 78 year-round out there! It’s supposed to be 93 here today…93. In September. In upstate New York. Crazy I tell ya! I’m sure I’ll look back at this post come January and wish it was in the 90’s, though!

      Hey, I am 100% ok with Dorothy winning the gift card! Dorothy is a saint, and I know she will put it to good use…if only we could get her to post her photos now! 🙂

  10. It’s not cooling off around here either… it’s been above 90 in school every day so far. My “Dad Bod” isn’t liking all this heat and humidity in September! Hahaha… and dude, these caramel crumble bars look so legit! I’m always so impressed with how creative you are with International Delight… good stuff #wolfpackbakes

    1. Seriously…what’s up with this weather, Chris?? Oh yeah, I totally remember those days in school when it was like 147° inside but 43°F outside. Makes you want to pull out the bathing suit in January! Hah!

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