These Caramel Nut Bars feature a combination of mixed nuts and caramel on top of a buttery shortbread crust. Good luck eating just one!
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If I was in charge of inventing a new candy bar, these Caramel Nut Bars would be the winner. They’re absolutely delicious! Think buttery shortbread cookie topped with caramel and 4…yes, 4…types of chopped nuts. These bars are nutty, caramel-y…and addicting!
When I initially set out to make this recipe, I was planning on using a handful of chocolate chips and a handful of caramel bits. Well, I got to work…and I straight up forgot the chocolate chips. Have you ever forgotten an ingredient in a recipe? I have. Fortunately this one wasn’t critical. (Although I recognize some folks might argue that chocolate is always critical!)
At first, I was disappointed that I forgot the chocolate. But then I took a bite of these Caramel Nut Bars. Ok, so maybe my disappointment started to fade away. *another bite* Disappointment gone entirely. The sweet and salty combination in these dessert bars is mighty tasty! (For the record, I think a handful of chocolate chips would still be quite good in this recipe.)
Caramel Nut Bars
These bars use 4 different types of nuts. Yes, that seems a bit crazy. However, take one bite and then tell me what you think. Each of the types of nuts brings a, well, nutty flavor. However, each of the types of nuts also has a unique flavor. Pecans are different from hazelnuts are different from almonds. And don’t forget the little pistachios in there!
The nuts get chopped and mixed with an easy caramel sauce, and that mixture gets poured onto a shortbread cookie base. The base is buttery and crumbly in a classic shortbread way. I’m pretty sure I could eat the base by itself! But then I would be left with a pot of caramel-coated nuts. The combination of shortbread cookie crust with the caramel nuts on top is fantastic. Truly fantastic.
This recipe is designed to be baked on a standard 9″x13″ rimmed baking pan. That means you’ll end up with a lot of Caramel Nut Bars. We sliced ours into 1½” x 3″ bars, and we ended up with 24 bars.
How to Store Caramel Nut Bars
The good news is these bars are quite easy to store. Just place them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze these in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. We froze half the batch and ate half the batch. And I’m glad we froze some because I’m pretty sure I would’ve eaten the entire batch in record time otherwise!
Can you use different nuts?
Absolutely! If you use raw nuts, I do recommend toasting them lightly first. After all, the nuts only go into the oven for ~5 minutes. The difference in taste between a lightly toasted nut and a raw nut is noticeable.
As far as the actual nuts, mix it up! I opted for pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds. If you wanted to save some time, just grab a container of mixed nuts. You’ll need ~4 cups total. Peanuts, walnuts or cashews would all be good options in this recipe, too. I didn’t include any salt in this recipe as I used salted nuts. If you use unsalted nuts, then I’d recommend adding a sprinkle of kosher salt into the caramel mix.
If you’re looking for a fantastic (and easy) dessert recipe, then put these Caramel Nut Bars on the list. I hope you enjoy these bars as much as we do here in our house. Happy baking!
Did you make a batch of these Caramel Nut Bars at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Caramel Nut Bars
For the Crust
For the Crust
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Line a 9”x13” rimmed baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over edges by 1”. (Note: This will make it easier to remove the cookies later!) Spray parchment paper with nonstick baking spray.
- Using a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Cut butter into small cubes. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut butter into dough until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add egg, vanilla extract and water; stir until dough comes together into a ball. (Note: If dough remains crumbly, add another teaspoon of water.)
- Press dough into bottom of prepared pan. (Note: This will take a bit of time. Make sure the dough is evenly pressed into the pan or else the thinner parts might burn in the oven.)
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until crust turns light golden brown. Remove pan from oven and let cool.
For the Caramel Nut Topping
- Using a large saucepan, add the caramel baking bits and brown sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until caramel bits have completely melted and mixture is smooth.
- Add butter and cream; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to boil. Continue cooking for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove saucepan from heat and add chopped nuts; stir until well combined.
- Spread mixture evenly on top of cooled crust.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool completely.
- Once cool, lift parchment paper off baking pan and transfer to a large cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars or squares.
Looking for more nutty desserts? Check out these other favorites, too: