Caramel Crumb Bars

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Preparation info

  • Makes one

    9 × 13 × 2 inch

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

If I had to choose one cookie above all others, it would be this one. The buttery dough and creamy caramel filling complement each other perfectly.



  • 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened, condensed milk
  • One 9 × 13 × 2-inch (23 × 33 × 5-cm) pan, buttered and lined fully (bottom and sides) with buttered parchment or foil


  1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. For the dough, beat the butter with the sugar and salt in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until soft and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  3. On the lowest speed, beat in cups of the Hour, scraping the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula and continuing to mix just until the dough is smooth, and the flour has been absorbed.
  4. Remove the howl from the mixer and scrape ¾ of the dough into the prepared pan. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down evenly, without compressing it too much. Chill the dough-lined pan. Work the remaining ¼ cup Hour into the remaining dough with your fingertips, so that it forms ⅛- to ¼-inch (3 to 6-mm) crumbs. Set aside at room temperature.
  5. For the filling, in a medium saucepan bring the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and condensed milk to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to boil gently, stirring often, until it starts to thicken and darken slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a stainless-steel bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough-lined pan from the refrigerator and scrape the cooled filling onto the dough, using a small offset spatula to spread the filling evenly on the dough. Scatter the crumb mixture on the filling.
  7. Bake until the filling is bubbling gently and is a deep caramel color and the dough and crumb topping are baked through, about $0 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan on a rack until lukewarm, 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the slab of baked dough out of the pan and onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely. Cut the slab into 2-inch (5-cm) squares.


Keep these at room temperature if you are serving them within a day. If not, wrap and freeze them and make sure to defrost and bring to room temperature before serving.