Before I begin, I just want to say that I’m not at all sorry for sharing this dessert with you. Yes, it’s a crazy dessert–yes, it’s so insanely good that I nearly picked through half of the pan before I managed to pry my paws off of these layered bars long enough to package them and ship them off. But will I say sorry?
The thing is, I’m a chronic sorry-sayer. If you’re not one yourself, you know one: that friend who, even when she is doing you a favor, will say “sorry” out of instinct more than anything else. And then of course, there’s the neverending loop of sorries, which usually happens when somebody points out that you’re saying sorry way too much, so your first response is to apologize for saying sorry so often–and thus begins the Great Chain of Apologies.
But as I said, I won’t be apologizing for these bars. Not even a tiny morsel, because they are unforgivingly knock-your-socks-off good.
I won’t apologize for the way your jeans fit after you eat them.
I won’t apologize for the incessant daydreams and steady stream of drool that these bars may incur during your regular work/schoolday routine, most probably (knowing your luck) right as your boss/teacher is asking you an important question.
In all seriousness, though: saying sorry really is an infliction, since the act of saying sorry when one has little to nothing for which to be sorry is really an indicator of something deeper happening. Several times in the past six months or so, I’ve called up some of my closest friends in the hopes of talking through some difficult issues–moral compasses, ethical dilemmas, others’ emotions, my own repeated near-meltdowns (or actual meltdowns, as earlier this week proved). The first words out of my mouth on every call were: “Sorry, do you have time to talk?” One text I sent said: “Sorry, can I be honest?”
And the first words my friends–all of them–said were not “of course” or “sure!” but: “Dude, don’t apologize.”
Followed by: “This is what friends are for. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to listen.”
It’s funny how entrapped we can become in our expressions without being really aware of them. When I say sorry, I am expressing an internalized, pessimistic version of how I perceive myself in my relationships with others; in a way, I’m “sorry” because I do think that my thoughts are an inconvenience and burden to other people’s energy and interests. As time goes on, however, and as my friends continue to remind me with the utmost sincerity to stop apologizing, I’ve begun to realize that I really have no reason to be sorry, but every reason to be grateful.
So to anyone out there reading this: not only am I not sorry to be sharing this dessert with you, I am immensely appreciative that I have someone as special as you around, with whom I can share this jean-busting damn delicious dessert!
And you bet your skin-tight hot pants that I am dead serious about these bars right now.
These 4-layer everything bars are a TOP TEN kind of recipe for me–hands down one of the best, mind-blowing desserts I have ever made, as long as you’re not attempted to ship it 500 miles or something by post (like I might’ve done, oops). The layers are absolutely insane, so let me walk you through them:
- Chocolate chip cookie base: a chewy chip-studded cookie base is made perfectly easy with prepared refrigerated cookie dough! Feel free to sub your favorite homemade cookie dough recipe here.
- Caramel layer: a creamy, indulgent layer of caramel made from unwrapped caramel candies oozes out over the top of the cookie base, leaving a wonderful blast of sweetness on your tongue.
- Nougat: the subtle flavor of cream, marshmallow, and peanuts fills this fluffy layer!
- Rice Krispies Chocolate Ganache: amp up your plain old ganache with some rice cereal–it adds an incredible textured crunch and brings the whole bar together into a cohesive unit of bliss.
As I said, I’m not apologizing for this one–but if I had to, it would be for the sheer amount of times folks are going to be begging you to make this recipe for them. But I’m not. Maybe I’ll glue my mouth shut with some nougat and call it a day, hm?
TRY THESE BARS ASAP and then tell me: what do you think about sorry-saying?
4-Layer Everything Bars
A top-ten Wallflour Girl favorite recipe! Chewy chocolate chip cookie base, sweet caramel, creamy nougat filling, and a rice krispies-filled chocolate ganache--unlike anything I've ever tried. Adapted from Deliciously Yum.
For the chocolate chip cookie layer:
- 1 (12 oz) package prepared chocolate chip cookie dough
For the caramel layer:
- 35 caramels, unwrapped
- 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon water
For the nougat filling:
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
For the rice krispies chocolate ganache:
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup rice krispies cereal
For the chocolate chip cookie layer:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and press prepared dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. As the cookie layer bakes, move on and make your caramel!
For the caramel layer:
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt down the caramel, stirring frequently, until completely creamy and smooth. Pour over cooled cookie crust, then place pan into freezer for 10 minutes (so that it sets up before you pour the next layer on top).
For the nougat filling:
- In the same saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low and allow mixture to simmer without stirring for 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine marshmallow cream and peanut butter. Pour boiled mixture over marshmallow mixture and whisk together.
- Pour over cooled caramel layer, then return pan to freezer for additional 10 minutes.
For the rice krispies chocolate ganache:
- Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat up cream until it's hot but not yet boiling or scalded. Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir vigorously, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in cereal and spread out as evenly as you can over the nougat layer.
- Refrigerate bars for at least 2 hours before cutting into them. Then dig in and enjoy immensely!
54 Replies to “4-Layer Everything Bars”
Ala, as usually you have combined pure mouthwatering deliciousness with something important to think about – thanks for getting my Monday morning off to a great start! xo
Absolutely, Kate–hope you’re having a wonderful start to the week!
You are a sinful Lady, 😬😬😬😬😬
and I’m a diabetic, sooo what!! I look 👀 at it like this. It’s all in moderation & responsibilitiy.
So, I’ll make’em sometime!!
Thank You Dear!!
Can I make these with out the peanut butter?
Hi Blair! You could, though the consistency might change a bit without the PB. I would recommend subbing an alternate nut butter (sunflower, almond, etc.) if possible!
Well, well, well, I have found the best sweet of the week and it’s only Monday! Is it a cookie or candy? Don’t want to know, just pass a big slice my way!
Aw, shucks, Deb! Can we just call it a fruit and indulge all day together??
Oh Have Mercy! Ala!!! These are insane! Wow!!! I could steal the whole bunch of these from right under your nose and I would never ever apologize!
hahahaha I never even considered that possibility. Darn tootin’ right, you won’t need to apologize!!!
I will NEVER want you to apologize for the decadence that is these bars. Just saying 🙂
haha you’re the best, Zainab! xo
Looks great! Just in time for fall, thank you! Now I know what’s for dessert!
Been away on vacation, so I’m catching up on my reading. And you’ve certainly made it worth my while — what terrific bars! Thanks so much.
These bars look incredible, Ala! Decadence to the max! I really want one these right now! 😉
Been buried under my kitchen pots and loads of design projects and finally saw this post. I can’t forgive you for not sharing and no, I’m not apologizing 🙂 You’re simply da BEST!
Ala, I feel you girl! I, too, am the over-apologizer in my circle of the world. The number of times I have been scolded for apologizing is just, well, incalculable. I actually find myself apologizing when OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD BE apologizing. But I do it instead, to prompt them to correct me and the situation. It’s a disease. Anyway. So I’v actually been wondering how to make nougat, but now I see I wasn’t nearly adventurous enough. Why make nougat when you can make ALL OF THIS. So insane. So delicious. No wonder you almost just ate it all out of the pan. Divinely inspired, your Everything Bars.
YES, this is such a thing! I’m glad I”m not the only one, but hey–we’ll learn sooner or later, right? <3 hope to see you soon, lovely lady!!
New and going crazy over your recipes.. Cant wait to use them all.. I have a lot of baking to do. I will be back for more.
Thanks for taking the time to let me know, Gail! It’s wonderful to meet you–happy bakings, and I can’t wait to hear how it all goes for you! xo
I never have success with melting unwrapped caramels so I use the caramel bits. How do I convert caramels to caramel bits? Thanks!
Hey Valerie! 4 pieces equals about an ounce, so 9 ounces’ worth of caramel bits should do you just fine. Hope that helps and that you get to enjoy these bars soon!
How would you adjust the recipe omitting the peanut butter?
Hi Patti! Feel free to substitute another nut butter for the PB. Hope that helps!
Do these need to be refrigerated if not all eaten right away?
Hi Kathy! I recommend refrigerating these if you don’t plan on eating them all within the day. Hope that helps!
Could I substitute walnuts in place of rice crispy?
Hi Robin! If you don’t have rice crisp cereal and would like to use walnuts, you can probably do so. Let me know how it turns out, though!
I made the recipe and it was a joy. I had to make a few changes. Made chocolate chip gluten free cookies and I added salted peanuts to the fluff layer. It is going to be fantastic, the flavor profiles are great and people won’t know they are eating gluten free, which is the point. Cannot wait to share with my staff.
Hi Laura, I’m SO excited that these bars turned out great for you! The salted peanuts sound like a total winner in my book. Hope your staff loves it as much as you did!
I’ve had something similar to this but with brownie instead of cookie.Im not sure how its made but I’ve been searching for it ever since i tried it.This comes the closest.
Well, I’m glad you stumbled across this because it’s a winner! Hope you like it as much as you liked your other bars!
What could I sub for rice crispies? They aren’t my favorite. Thank you
Hi Marion! You could try leaving them out altogether and just going with a chocolate ganache. That sounds just as yummy!
May I suggest broken up pretzel pieces? Though, honestly, the crispies seem to be there more for texture than flavor; we didn’t really taste them. I made these and brought them to work today and people can’t stop raving about them. Messy if they aren’t eaten straight from the refrigerator but I have no troubles licking caramel from my fingers. I will definitely make these again.
Melissa, so glad that these turned out to be a hit at your office! The crispies really are there for texture, so you’re completely right on target there. And I hear you–I make these all the time!
I just made these today and I couldn’t even finish one of these. They are way too sweet for me. I will see if my neighbor wants them or I will just throw them out.
Hi Jon! So glad you got to try them, and sorry to hear that you weren’t a fan of their sweetness. While my friends happily finish these all the time, they’re definitely not for the faint of heart!
I used almond butter instead of peanut butter (food allergy), and I’m wondering if that’s why they never really “set,” despite being refrigerated. The nougat layer really just leaked out everywhere. Still delicious, but very messy! What do you think?
Hi Jennifer! Almond butter tends to be a lot runnier than peanut butter, and especially so if you were using an organic brand, so that could be one reason for it. Ample boiling time without stirring is also important, so I think either of those reasons could cause a filling not to set! That being said, using non-organic sunflower butter or another, more solid nut butter and making sure you’re boiling for the full ten minutes could be solutions to your issue. Would love to hear if this works out for you!
Thank you! I will give that a try!
Do these freeze well?
Hi Erika! I haven’t frozen these myself, though I suspect the nougat might be a bit affected by freezing. Would definitely recommend eating these fresh out of the fridge if possible!
Your recipe says to bring to boil then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes, not boil boil for 10 minutes. I had the same problem with the nougat not setting and I used peanut butter. I am sure the family will enjoy them anyway.
This looks so good! This bar had a flavor for everyone! What a great crowd pleaser!
Glad you loved these–they’re a real hit here, too!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Hi Vanessa! These keep about 3-4 days, slightly longer in the fridge. Hope that helps!
I made these today. They are sweet and tasty!
Next time I would leave out the Rice Krispies, they didn’t add much to the recipe.
ALSO: I made the nougat and when they are cold it’s ok. I left a piece out and the nougat spread out of the bar. Is it anything I did, or do these have to be eaten cold?
ALSO: when I was cutting the bars the chocolate was cracking. Should a warm knife be used?
I would like to make these again but need my questions answered so they will be perfect.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the sweet words, Mary–glad you loved these bars as much as we do! The nougat does tend to spread at room temp, so no worries; if you want to make sure these bars are still fully layered and intact while munching, definitely serve them from the fridge. A warm knife should also help with the chocolate-cracking issue, though the chocolate will be rather hard either way (especially if you’ve refrigerated the bars). You might try lightly scoring the chocolate layer with your knife (i.e. cutting shallow lines into the chocolate where you plan to slice the bars later) while the chocolate is still slightly soft so that it’s easier to cut once the bars have fully set. Hope these tips help with making these bars perfect for you!
I made these bars today and although they tasted very sweet, they were unbelievably difficult to cut and remove from the pan. The cookie layer was quite hard and the nougat layer was too gooshy. They would not stay together at all. Not sure what I did wrong as I followed the recipe as written with chill times at stated, etc. Will probably not make these again because I just had a pan full of mixed layers which were way to messy to serve to anyone.
Hey Marcia! Sorry to hear these didn’t work out for you–they can be a bit tricky to cut, but we find that using a knife run under hot water usually helps.
I had the exact same problem. They are delicious but the nougat would not set up.
I had the same problem that nougat layer was gooy and runny. You say to simmer it for 10 minutes. Is is suppose to continue to boil? Refrigeration helps, but they are still gooy??
Hi Doris! Yes, the nougat layer will be fairly gooey (and finger-lickin’ good messy)–but being sure to simmer for the full 10 minutes, cooling the mixture, and then refrigerating should help.