Christmas Baking Weekend: featuring German Chocolate Caramel Bars

Hello, again! I’ve been looking forward to blogging about this weekend ALL. YEAR. LONG. My mom and I started an annual holiday season tradition where we spend an entire weekend together baking all of our Christmas cookies in one fell swoop.

Christmas Baking Weekend 2016 cookie platter

We start out by making a list of all our family’s traditional Christmas cookies that we simply HAVE to make (since we can’t make all the cookie recipes we’ve accumulated over the years). Then, we rotate in a new recipe or two – usually cookies or holiday treats we find on Pinterest that complement our cookie platter, adding a new flavor or color or some sort of variety to our goods.

Gingerbread Cookies

After the baking weekend is complete, we’re off delivering trays of cookies to friends, family, and coworkers to enjoy. We’ll freeze whatever cookies are left and grab a few here and there to put together cookie trays throughout the month of December.

These Melted Snowmen Bark were new this year, an easy Pinterest recipe you can recreate here.

Melted Snowmen Bark

And of course, we made 3 batches worth of our tried and true Sugar Cookies (recipe here, just decorate for Christmas!).

Christmas Sugar Cookies

We keep a little baking journal for this weekend and jot down things like how many batches we made of a certain cookie, how many sticks of butter we used in all our recipes (2016 baking weekend = 34+ sticks of butter!) or how early in the day we cracked open a holiday beer while we baked — my personal favorite, the Widmer Brrr winter warmer.

The cookie lineup varies every year, but for 2016 we made a total of 12 different holiday treats, including:

  • Bird’s Nest (thumb prints)
  • Pecan Tassies
  • Grinch Cookies
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Gingerbread Cookies
  • Spritz Cookies
  • German Chocolate Caramel Bars
  • Cinnamon Roll Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Truffles
  • Melted Snowmen Bark
  • Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Salted Caramel
  • Homemade Caramel

Note: the homemade caramel and peanut butter truffles are not pictured below (camera shy).

I wanted to share the recipe of my personal Xmas cookie favorite, German Chocolate Caramel Bars. Now, I’m no scientist but I’m fairly certain that one bite of a German Chocolate Caramel Bar triggers all the pleasure centers of the brain…

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

The two German Chocolate layers take on a brownie-like quality once baked, sandwiching a gooey, creamy caramel and chocolate chip chunks. They’re awesome and have always been my favorite Christmas “cookie” since I was a kid. If you’re a fan of any turtle-like dessert, this one is for you!

Print Recipe
German Chocolate Caramel Bars
Chocolatey, gooey caramel bars with chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
Cook Time 28 - 33 minutes
Servings
36 square bites, approximately
Ingredients
  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • cup evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup butter melted
  • 1 cup nuts chopped
  • 1 pound caramels (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cook Time 28 - 33 minutes
Servings
36 square bites, approximately
Ingredients
  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • cup evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup butter melted
  • 1 cup nuts chopped
  • 1 pound caramels (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix with ⅓ cup of the evaporated milk, melted butter and chopped nuts.
  3. Using your fingers, gently spread half of the dough into a greased 9" x 13" pan. Try to cover the enter bottom of the pan with dough. Bake for 8 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the caramel with the other ⅓ cup of evaporated milk.
  5. When the first half of the dough is done baking, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the baked dough. Pour melted caramel over the top of the chocolate chips. Crumble remaining dough with your fingers on top of caramel layer. Bake an additional 20 - 25 minutes.
  6. Cool well before slicing and serving.
Recipe Notes
  • You can use either chopped pecans, chopped walnuts or a mixture of both. I often use just pecans when I make these.
  • I like to cut these bars into small squares. I would recommend that once they have cooled completely at room temperature, put pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill before cutting with a sharp knife. The caramel can be very gooey so to cut a perfect square bite, chilling will help the bars keep their shape.

Enjoy! With sprinkles on top,

Love, Britt

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