Recipe: Snickers-Inspired Bar Cookies

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Two kinds of bars — candy and cookie — come together in a superhero-worthy pairing that, yes, truly satisfies. A chewy cookie layer replaces finicky nougat in this homemade version, leaving you free to expend your energies on making caramel from scratch. (Yes, it’s simpler than you think! Just use that candy thermometer for guaranteed success.)

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

It’s not traditional, but adding a sprinkle of exquisitely flaky sea salt like Maldon takes a nostalgic treat to the next level. And apart from being a picnic potluck standout, they’re also a bake-sale no-brainer.

Snickers Bar Cookies

Makes 12 bars

For the cookie layer:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the caramel-peanut layer:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts

For the topping:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Maldon or other flaky sea salt (optional)

Make the cookie layer: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square, metal baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.

Stir in the flour mixture by hand until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake until the dough is firm, golden-brown, and just starting to brown at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until the caramel nougat is finished. Meanwhile, make the caramel layer.

Make the caramel layer: Melt the butter over medium heat in a high-sided saucepan at least 2 quarts in capacity. Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves completely and the liquid comes to a boil.

Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 246 to 248°F (hard-ball stage). Remove from the heat.

Stir the peanuts into the caramel, then carefully pour over the cookie layer. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the caramel to firm up a bit.

Assemble the bars: Melt the chocolate chips in a small (1-quart) saucepan or skillet over low heat.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate over the bar, spreading evenly and gently with an offset spatula to cover the entire top. Sprinkle with Maldon or other flaky sea salt, if desired. Let sit until the caramel has set and the chocolate has hardened, about 2 hours.

Grasping the parchment paper, pull the cookie slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The bars will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days in a covered container.