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Bourbon caramel swirled chocolate chip bars

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 8x8 pan 1x


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup bourbon caramel (recipe below!)
  • Flaky sea salt

Bourbon caramel

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat melted and cooled butter with sugars for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low. Fold in chocolate by hand.
  5. Press ⅔ of the dough into the pan. Add caramel and spread into as even of a layer as you can get it. Then use a knife to gently swirl it into the dough.
  6. Top with spoonfuls of remaining dough and spread lightly to cover (it’s okay if some caramel is peeking through!!).
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges turn a light brown but the center is still a little jiggly.
  8. Let cool completely before cutting.
  9. To make caramel:
  10. Add sugar and water to a small pan and set over medium heat. Let melt, while slowly swriling the pan (try not to stir at all!). Keep cooking and swirling for about 15 minutes, or until it turns a beautiful amber color.
  11. Turn off heat and slowly add heavy cream (careful - it will splatter!) and stir gently. Add bourbon and stir to combine.
  12. Let cool slightly while you make the cookie batter.


If the sugar starts to crystallize when you’re making the caramel, it’s okay to add a little more water and stir everything together to help move things along. You don’t want to add more than an additional 2 tablespoons though - just be patient and it will all come together as it continues to melt.

If the idea of making caramel make you laugh (I get it!), store-bought caramel is totally fine for this recipe. I love the salted caramel one from Trader Joe’s!