Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars

Salted Caramel
Photography, Recipe Development, and Food Styling by Erin Clarkson

Erin Clarkson from the blog Cloudy Kitchen revamped her Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle Cookies and transformed them into the most dreamy, thick, and chewy bars. Caramel Shards are placed on top of the soft snickerdoodle dough before baking, and they melt into pools of golden sugar with the heat of the oven. Finally, a sprinkling of flaked sea salt completes the cookie-to-bar transformation. For more cookies and bars that will revolutionize your holiday baking, check out our 2020 Holiday Cookie Special Issue available on newsstands or as a downloadable digital edition here!

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle
Photography, Recipe Development, and Food Styling by Erin Clarkson
Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars
Makes 16 bars
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • 2⅔ cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • Caramel Shards (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: flaked sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1¼ cups (250 grams) sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg and vanilla bean paste, and beat at medium speed until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat at low speed just until combined. (Dough will be thick.) Press dough into prepared pan, smoothing with an of set spatula.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar. Sprinkle on top of dough. Sprinkle Caramel Shards on top of dough.
  5. Bake until edges are slightly puffed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. (Bars will set as they cool.) Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and cut into bars. Garnish with sea salt, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Caramel Shards
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  1. Line an 18×13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until melted. (Sugar will clump as it heats, but keep whisking and it will soon smooth out.) Cook, without stirring, until amber in color and just beginning to smoke slightly. Immediately pour onto prepared pan; lift mat to carefully spread caramel across mat to get as thin a layer as possible. Let cool completely.
  3. Peel caramel from mat. Using a knife, cut caramel into pieces (Be careful—shards are sharp.) Use immediately.
*Make the Caramel Shards before you start making the bars so the caramel has time to cool and set and is ready to sprinkle on top by the time you are finished making the dough for the bars.

*Have everything ready to go for the Caramel Shards. There are a few seconds between a toasty caramel and a burnt sugar, so you want to be able to pour out the caramel as soon as it is ready.
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