Caramel Crunch Bars
These caramel crunch bars are fantastc- they’re super easy to throw together and require no baking in the oven. Perfect for the summer!
Crunchy, caramely, chocolatey – there is a lot to love in these tasty little treats.
Originally a Paula Deen recipe titled “Homemade KitKat Bars,” I decided to change the name because in my opinion (and after having eaten approximately 2,483 KitKat bars in my life I am entitled to an opinion), these little babies tasted nothing like KitKat bars but were delicious in their own right.
They are a tad similar to the Chocolate Scotcharoos I posted long, long ago in the fact that there is chocolate and butterscotch in the topping with a crunchy, caramel-like base.
Regardless of name or authenticity, these bars are fantastic. And they are super easy to throw together and require no baking in the oven. That’s a major bonus on a hot summer day.
I much preferred these bars after refrigerating. They stay soft despite being chilled and they are very, very addicting.
Caramel Crunch Bars
- 80 club crackers, I used multi-grain
- 1 cup (227 g) butter
- 2 cups (200 g) graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup (212 g) firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup (71 g) sugar
- ⅔ cup (170 g) creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup (85 g) semisweet chocolate morsels
- ½ cup (85 g) butterscotch morsels
- Line an ungreased 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an extension of foil on either end. Line the foil with 1 layer of club crackers, cutting to fit if necessary (in my 9X13-inch pan, the crackers lined up evenly without the need to trim).
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk and sugar.
- Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (Begin timing 5 minutes from when you see the first bubbles.)
- Remove from heat and spread half of butter mixture evenly over crackers. Place another single layer of crackers evenly over butter mixture, cutting to fit if necessary. Spread remaining butter mixture evenly over crackers. Top evenly with remaining crackers.
- In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), combine peanut butter, chocolate morsels, and butterscotch morsels. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over top of crackers.
- Cover, and chill for at least 1 hour. Lift foil overhang and remove bars from pan. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe Source: adapted from Paula Deen’s Best Desserts Magazine
58 Comments on “Caramel Crunch Bars”
Would these freeze okay?
I haven’t tried freezing them – I’m worried the crackers may get soggy.
These are awesome, I halved the recipe and just used a smaller pan and they came out great they look just like yours. Thanks for posting this I will 100% make these again
So excited to stumble across this recipe!! My grandma always made pretty much this exact bar when we were kids and we LOVED THEM, but she just called them “Yummy Bars” which obviously isn’t a thing that the internet can give you a recipe for and I’ve been dying to make them, but haven’t found anything that looked even remotely close until this!! Hopefully they taste as good as hers (and as good as I remember LOL).
Really great Site
You should be more specific about making the caramel layer. Mine completely separated and became a big glob by mess. You give give tips on making that layer as you gave to a previous comment. This is a big waste of money. When you say boil that’s what I did. Cleary the heat was too high. Bloggers really need to take the time to explain a recipe when there are specific things to know for a recipe
Hi Mary – I understand it’s frustrating when recipes don’t work out and I’m sorry this one didn’t for you, however, it’s easy to blame the recipe or me when that happens and that isn’t entirely fair. This recipe has worked for dozens of people written as is – the temperature of the heat isn’t the only reason caramel will separate and I’m not a caramel expert to know all the ins and outs and whys and hows but I try to offer the best help I can in the recipe and comments (which is why I encourage anyone trying a recipe for the first time to read through the comments before starting). There is helpful information in the recipe and the comments.
Tried these for the first time and they are so good! Almost like a glorified sweet and salty scotcheroo! Thanks for all your recipes! I pull your blog up every week when I make out my menu!
Made them & liked them. Would try them without the butterscotch chips == just more chocolate chips & the peanut butter. They were a bit too sweet.
Just made. Will be one of the longest hours of my life waiting for them to cool so I can cut them. Pinterest has renewed my interest in cooking – when you retire and cooking for 2 is so difficult, sometimes it’s just easier to eat out. But that gets so boring. We’re both enjoying my return to the kitchen.
Also used chocolate graham crackers as needed to get rid of extra s’mores bar stuff from Parent Trap birthday party- tasted VERY much like a Twix! We are in Canada- so instead of Club crackers- used these crackers called ‘Toppables’ By ‘Christie’ (Kraft Canada company) which think are pretty similar?
Thanks for the awesome recipe (and picture! Yummo!) I think this would also be good using pretzel crackers in place of the Club crackers. My favorite candy bar is Take 5, and I’ve been hoping to try & recreate it. Of course, to make it like a Take 5 bar, you’d have to add chopped peanuts to the recipe, and substitute peanut butter chips for the butterscotch. But I’d just as soon make them “Take 6” bars and keep the butterscotch flavor in. 🙂 I’ll have to try that and let you know how it comes out.
I made these today and just came home from church and remembered that they were in the fridge chilling. 🙂 So of course I had to try them to make sure they were ok for the family to have after dinner. LOL I am glad to report that they are delicious and I am trying very hard not to go in for a second taste. 🙂 I did run out of regular graham crackers so I had some chocolate graham crackers on hand so I ended up doing half and half. I’m not sure what they are supposed to taste like the regular way but they are delicious this way too. Then again you can never go wrong with chocolate. Thanks for the recipe!
I made these a few days ago with my kids. I hid them so that they would forget about them and I could eat them at will. SO DELICIOUS!!! And the few my kids did get to eat, they loved as well. 🙂
So I made them with unsalted saltines instead of the Club crackers, I couldn’t find any here in Grenada… they were still awesome! You have to try these people! I thought they tasted even better on the 3rd day, I definitely like them chilled. Thanks again Mel!!
Kensi – great substitution! Glad they were so delicious.
please what are graham crackers and club crackers? we don’t have them in Australia so is you could make comparison ?
jacki – graham crackers are thin crackers made with graham flour. They are slightly sweet and usually used for the crust in a cheesecake and other sweet desserts. Club crackers are also a thin cracker, usually made with all-purpose flour and they are slightly salty. I hope that helps!
Your comment about the 2,483 kit kat bars made me laugh. I would have to say that I have also consumed that many in my lifetime. I am going to make these next week when we have friends over for dinner. They look so yummy! Thanks! Oh and by the way, looking at your blog for hours is my new favorite past time!
Anonymous – by “cutting to fit” I mean just cut the crackers (or break the end off) to fit the size of the pan. Most likely they won’t fit exactly the length and width of the pan so you may need to trim down the crackers to fit. Hope that helps!
ok, I am going to sound like a novice, but what do you mean by “cutting to fit” if I have to? I can’t wait to make these. I love Kit Kats but when I read a comment that they taste more like Twix I was even more excited. Twix are my daughters favorite and she only got one on Halloween!
Oh my goodness, these look delicious!!!!
Those look quite delectable. We tried the Broccoli Cheese Soup and LOVED it. Thank you for sharing. I was happy to find a recipe with real cheese.
I just got 2 wisdom teeth out this morning….
do you think these would make a good smoothie?
why oh why must I find good things to eat when I cant eat…
Just making my grocery list. I am adding the butterscotch chips to the list and I will make these this afternoon. It seems like a good fit for a pregnancy craving. Thanks!
do you think it would be illegal to make them without the butterscotch chips? cause i have all the rest of the ingredients and don’t want to go to the store? hmmmm…
Yum, yum, these looks great! I could see how they’re like Kit Kats but I like your name better.
Jaesi – I’m so very, very sorry for you and your hurting mouth. Ouch. Hope you are back to eating soon.
Crazy Lady – I’d definitely still make them without the butterscotch chips – they would definitely be more “pure” KitKat without them. Let me know if you try them.
Leah – glad you liked the broccoli cheese soup. It is one of my faves!
You’re killing me here. These look FABULOUS!!
no bake? what a great summertime treat when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen!
OMG, I want one. They don’t even LOOK like they’d taste like KitKats (I’ve eaten my share, regretably), but they sure look tasty.
Caramel, chocolate, & peanut butter? And they don’t even need to be baked? Oh no, I’m dead!
These are a fav in our family. We just call them homemade candy bars. YUM!
This is just fabulous!!! Everything that is right in the world!
what delicious looking bars!
OH YEAH!! These look terrific, I need to make these my hubby would love them!
I don’t think those would last long at all… too hard to resist!
Wow! fantastic caramel bars!!!!!
Oh yum. Another one to print off…
We thought of you last night as we devoured your famous clam chowder !
bookmarked and put on the “make immediately” list–these are fantastic! i just so happen to have a sleeve of saltines threatening to go stale–they’d work all right, don’t ya think?
Oh yum! I’m not a chocolate fan, but I adore caramel! I know I’ll love the sweet/salty combo. Thanks again Melanie!
All I can say is WOW! These look like a chocolate paradise!
We made these last night and really enjoyed them. However, we think they are much more like a “Twix” bar than a “KitKat.” We liked the butterscotch chips in the topping, and thought they went nicely with the caramel. We wouldn’t leave the butterscotch chips out. Thanks for the recipe.
Anonymous – I think you’ve pegged it…these are definitely more like a twix than a kitkat. I wonder how the name got messed up? Glad you liked them.
This was really good 🙂 They were a real hit when I made them, and the melting chocolate mix made my house smell so good! I LOVED not having to turn on the oven (it’s about 107 outside today)
Oh my goodness…that just looks sinful!
When you say Club crackers…whay does that mean? Like a Premium Plus Saltine? Or more like a Ritz? I am in Canada and I know we don’t always have the same brand names for things, but these look so good…help!
Try toppables crackers by Christie in green box.
Club crackers are also known as salad crackers = you will find them with Keebler products or sometimes store generic products.
Jessica – I’m so sorry you are dealing with 100 plus temperatures. That just makes me cringe. Glad this recipe hit the spot and prevented oven usage! Thanks for letting me know.
Sunshine – here is a link to what Club crackers are like here in the states. They are more like a ritz than a saltine. Good luck!
When I made them, the butter separated from the other ingredients. What was left was not spreadable. Do you think I cooked it too hot?
The same thing happened to me. Should the graham cracker crumbs be added later, once the other ingredients melt together?
You could try doing it that way if you are having issues.
Hey Jessica – Although I had a few suspicions, I wasn’t exactly sure why your butter separated so I did a little research. Here is what I found:
One of the most common triggers is when the candy has undergone an abrupt temperature shift, either becoming too cold or too hot in a very short period of time. Try not to “shock” your candy by drastically turning the heat up or down during cooking. Additionally, it is especially important to watch the candy in the beginning of the cooking process, while the butter and sugar are melting together, because separation can often result if these two elements melt unevenly. If you have very effective stovetop burners I recommend turning them to medium-low to allow the butter and sugar to melt gently in the beginning stages.
Toffee and caramel can also separate if the recipe calls for constant stirring and the candy isn’t stirred often enough. Additionally, separation is more likely to occur when using thinner (cheaper) saucepans, as they don’t conduct heat efficiently and lead to “hot spots” that can cause the butter to separate. Finally, humidity can cause the butter to separate, so if your kitchen is very warm and humid, it’s not a good time to be making candy.
I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! Next time it sounds like maybe try cooking it at a lower temperature. Good luck!