Chocolate Caramel Walnut Bars

April 21, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Makes one 8-inch square pan
Author Notes

A hybrid of a very old Land O'Lakes recipe for butter pecan turtle bars (basically a caramel- and chocolate-topped blondie) and an old 1980s Diamond Walnuts walnut square recipe, these bars are deliciously decadent. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • For the base:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • For the topping:
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I like a mix of semisweet and milk)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. until light and fluffy Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, graham cracker crumbs, and salt and mix until the batter just comes together.
  4. Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts.
  5. Press the batter into your prepared pan in an even layer.
  6. To make the caramel, melt together the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.
  7. Immediately pour the caramel over the batter in the pan and smooth it to an even layer with a spatula.
  8. Bake the bars for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and while still hot, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the bars. Allow to melt for a few minutes, using a spatula to spread the chocolate into an evenly melted layer.
  10. Let the bars cool fully before slicing and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • krikri
  • Yvette
  • jme
  • Sal Mun
    Sal Mun

11 Reviews

jme October 8, 2020
Really Good!! I was skeptical about the outcome of these bars based on reviews, but it actually turned out great! The hot caramel that you pour on top of the batter melds into the base and creates a caramel flavor throughout. After adding the chocolate chips to the top of the warm bars, I let it cool completely for several hours before slicing into bars. I'm keeping them in the fridge where my hubby steals them pretty often! So for those who were expecting a separate layer of caramel, this does not happen since the caramel actually bakes into the batter.
Sal M. January 25, 2019
Total greasy mess and poor instructions! Caramel needs to be cooked longer to thicken properly and the base should be cooked half way to firm up before adding caramel on top. Otherwise the caramel blended in with the dough and created a big greasy mess with butter pooling on the bottom. Yuck!
CrusterG December 24, 2018
Don’t make these as they are - the recipe is incorrect, you need to cook the walnut batter before you pour the caramel on and you have to cut the caramel in half to make it work. It’s just a greasy surary mess, like eating the inside of a pecan pie.
nanci September 10, 2017
Way too greasy. I went back to see if maybe I didn't add enough flour or something. Also make sure to grease the pan well.
krikri August 11, 2017
Me too - gooey, jiggly. The bars, that is.
I googled other recipes for "butter pecan turtle bars" and even the Land o' Lakes version says to boil the butter-brown sugar topping for about a minute. This should thicken it so it doesn't saturate everything quite so much. Also the base in the other recipes was simpler - just flour, sugar, and butter. I too had to leave it in the oven for well over the suggested 20 minutes.
My husband (who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, poor lad) described his as "greasy" but I thought they were delicious! And, yes, buttery. I scarfed two of them (to my semi-horror), and now have a vigorous sugar buzz. I'm keeping half in the freezer to spread out future indulgences.
Mallory July 16, 2016
These were delicious. I agree with the previous comments - my bars were pretty well set after about 25 minutes of baking (I just watched until they were no longer jiggly). I still had to chill them a bit in the fridge to make them easier to eat.
Sara C. May 13, 2016
Wish I would have read the comments before making these - mine are a gooey mess as well. I think the caramel isn't cooked long enough and it saturates the batter so that it doesn't make the cookie like in the picture. The gooey bars still taste good, but what a disappointment.
nanci September 10, 2017
Totally agree with Sara C.
Wish I had read all the comments.
Probably wouldn't have made them.
Yvette May 9, 2016
Mine didn't work out either - need to be cooked longer than 20 minutes.
paninigirl May 6, 2016
I agree with Mary. I think I should have cooked mine longer than 20 minutes. They were way too gooey to even slice even though I followed the directions.
Mary May 2, 2016
The caramel syrup of butter and brown sugar is far too much - the squares become over saturated with butter, otherwise they are very tasty.