These Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars feature a shortbread cookie crust topped with dulce de leche, pecans and chocolate chips. Yum!
I love a good caramel dessert. Growing up, my Mom used to stock the freezer with Healthy Choice’s Praline and Caramel Ice Cream. It was quite tasty! (On a side note, what ever happened to Healthy Choice ice cream? It just kinda disappeared at some point…) And come Autumn each year, I always crave a good caramel apple. These Caramel Apple Tartlets are another favorite dessert, too. But then I discovered dulce de leche.
Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy a good caramel dessert, but dulce de leche takes caramel to a whole new level! Dulce de leche reminds me of caramel, but just with a more intense flavor. In fact, dulce de leche is Spanish for “candy of milk.” That’s pretty much the perfect description! And it turns out that dulce de leche is actually insanely easy to make at home.
Sure, you can make dulce de leche the traditional way on the stovetop – it involves stirring the mixture until your arm falls off. Or you can just put an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk it in a slow cooker for 8 hours. Let that can cool off and then pop it open – you’ll have 1¼ cups of dulce de leche! (And since the can is unopened, it’s actually shelf stable for several months. However, if you’re anything like me, then you won’t have the willpower to let that can sit there for more than a couple of days!)
Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars
Robbie and I were talking about making cookies recently, and I starting wondering what would happen if I made turtle cookies but with dulce de leche instead of caramel. It turns out the result is fantastically addicting. Turtle flavored desserts are ones that combine pecans, chocolate and caramel. Since caramel is so closely related to dulce de leche, it’s not a far jump to use dulce de leche instead. Let me tell ‘ya – these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars didn’t last long around here!
For these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars, I started with a classic shortbread base – although I did use brown sugar instead of white sugar for a fun twist. Once that base gets baked up, then you’re ready for the good stuff! Spread the dulce de leche mixture on top and then sprinkle on chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Back in the oven for a bit, and then you’ll be all done.
These cookie bars might sound fancy, but they are actually incredibly easy to make. The only challenge is planning ahead to make the dulce de leche. Oh, and then waiting until these bars cool off enough to slice ’em up. (Pro tip – once the baking pan cools off slightly, toss it in the fridge so that it finishes cooling off even faster.)
If you enjoy caramel desserts, then you’ll love these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars! Cheers, friends!
Did you make a batch of these Dulce de Leche Turtle Cookie Bars at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – if they last long enough to get a photo!
Dulce de Leche Cookie Bars
For the Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ tsp salt
For the Toppings
- 1¼ cups dulce de leche see note
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
For the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9” square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving extra overhang on edges. (Note: The overhang will make lifting the bars out easier.) Spray the parchment or foil with nonstick baking spray. Set pan aside.
- Using a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients (flour, brown sugar, butter and salt); stir until well combined. (Note: The mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.)
- Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
For the Toppings
- Using a medium bowl, add dulce de leche, heavy whipping cream, egg yolks and vanilla extract; stir until well combined. Pour mixture over crust.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped pecans on top of the dulce de leche mixture.
- Bake for 20-22 more minutes, or until set.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Looking for more tasty dulce de leche and caramel desserts? Check out these other favorites: