Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

Cake mix peanut butter bars with caramel topping and chocolate frosting creates an easy potluck dessert that everyone loves. 

These delicious Peanut Butter Caramel Bars have sweet peanut butter cups added to the cake mix with a layer of caramel and crunchy peanuts topped with rich chocolate icing to taste like a Snickers Bar on top. 

Fork full of peanut butter bars from cake mix with a chocolate icing and caramel layer with plenty of peanuts.

This post is sponsored by the Ohio State Fair, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Peanut Butter and Caramel Bars

I have several great cake recipes from a box mix, but this is my first peanut butter cookie bars recipe from a box of yellow mix and we LOVE it!  I had no idea such rich and fancy tasting cookies could be so easy to make! 

A layer of cookies, topped with a caramel and peanut butter candy like layer and frosted with chocolate icing is AMAZING!

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After making this recipe I had to whip up some Cheesecake Cookie Bars from a box mix.  I love all of these variations of easy bar cookies!

This is one of several recipes my daughter has won ribbons with at the county fair baking contest. These bar cookies got 2nd place in the contest and her Banana Cream Pudding, Peanut Butter Balls with Rice Krispies and Cookie Dough Truffles have all won first place!

Peanut butter cake mix cookie with a layer of caramel sauce and a gooey coating of chocolate on a stack of white plates.

How to Make Peanut Butter Caramel Bar Cookies from a Box Mix

  1. Grease 13 x 9-inch pan.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, margarine, egg, and chopped peanut butter cups.  Mix well and press into greased pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes.
  4. Just before cookies are done baking use a saucepan to combine caramel topping, peanut butter, and cornstarch.
  5. Cook and stir over low heat until peanut butter is melted.  Remove from heat and stir in peanuts.  Spread evenly over crust.
  6. Return to oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until almost set.  Cool completely.
  7. Spread chocolate icing over bar cookies.  Top with additional peanuts if desired
Piece out of Peanut Butter Caramel Bars on a red napkin

Ingredients Needed:

  • Box of Yellow Cake Mix
  • Egg
  • Butter
  • Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  • Caramel Ice Cream Topping
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cornstarch
  • Salted cocktail peanuts
  • Chocolate Frosting
Sweet caramel sauce with crunchy peanuts running over a peanut butter bar with rich chocolate icing.

Step By Step Instructions

Using an electric mixer or large mixing bowl combine cake mix, butter, egg and chopped mini peanut butter cups.

Box of cake mix poured into a mixing bowl with an egg and stick of softened butter.

Stir well until the batter is uniform.

Soft peanut butter cookie batter made from cake mix in a bowl.

Chop mini peanut butter cups or larger Reeses cups into small pieces. Add 1 cup of the chopped candy and fold into the batter.

Chopped mini peanut butter cups poured over top a box of cake mix in a mixing bowl.

Press into a 9 x 13″ baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Peanut bars with yellow cake mix pressed into the bottom of a 9 x 13" white pan.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350℉ for about 18 minutes. The cookies will be nearly, but not fully baked.

About half way through the baking time combine caramel topping, peanut butter and cornstarch in a saucepan on low heat.

Sauce pan with caramel ice cream topping, peanut butter and cornstarch.

Stir until the peanut butter is melted.

Then stir in peanuts.

Sauce pan of warm caramel sauce with peanuts poured in.

Pour over the cake and return to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes.

Peanut and caramel sauce being poured over top of peanut butter cake bars.

Allow to cool before coating with chocolate frosting.

Overhead view of a 9 x 13" pan of peanut butter bars with cake mix, caramel sauce and chocolate icing.

Recipe Tips

  • Have all ingredients ready and read through the entire recipe before beginning
  • Use a heaping cup of chopped peanut butter cups – a little extra is better in this case
  • It takes a few minutes to press the cookie dough into the pan – make sure it is spread evenly throughout the pan
  • Don’t overbake the cookies since there is a caramel, peanut butter layer to pour on and additional baking time
  • If you would like the icing to stay solid and set be sure to cool the cookies completely or the icing will run
9 x 13" baking dish with a side view of peanut butter bars made with cake mix and filled with peanut butter cups covered with caramel sauce and chocolate frosting.

Other Easy Potluck Desserts Our Family Loves

Printable Recipe for Peanut Butter Caramel Bar Cookies

Close up of peanut caramel bars with chocolate frosting on a white plate.

Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

Servings 20 bar cookies
Author: Jennifer
These delicious Peanut Butter Caramel Bars have sweet peanut butter cups added to the cake mix with a layer of caramel and crunchy peanuts topped with rich chocolate icing
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
  

Bar Cookies

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup mini peanut butter cups chopped

Peanut Caramel Topping

  • 14 ounce jar caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup salted cocktail peanuts

Chocolate Icing

  • 1 can prepared chocolate icing

Instructions
 

  • Grease 13 x 9-inch pan.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix, margarine, egg and chopped peanut butter cups.  Mix well.
    1 box yellow cake mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup mini peanut butter cups
  • Press into greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Just before cookies are done baking use a saucepan to combine caramel topping, peanut butter, and cornstarch.  Cook and stir over low heat until peanut butter is melted. 
    14 ounce jar caramel ice cream topping, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Remove from heat and stir in peanuts.  Spread evenly over crust.  Return to oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until almost set. 
    1/2 cup salted cocktail peanuts
  • Cool completely. Spread chocolate icing over bar cookies.  Top with additional peanuts if desired.
    1 can prepared chocolate icing

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 382mgPotassium: 130mgFiber: 2gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 179IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

CULINARY ARTS COOKING AND BAKING CONTESTS AT THE OHIO STATE FAIR

The Ohio State Fair asked me to share details about their Culinary Arts Contests. These contests are a long-standing tradition at the fair.  There is so much to do at the fair one day just isn’t enough!  As someone who visits the Ohio State Fair multiple times each year, I have to admit that sometimes I miss looking at the competition entries.

New in 2019 the Culinary Arts and Baking Contest entries will be on display in Kasich Hall.  This is the newest building on the fairgrounds and it is near 17th Avenue.  A great reason to pop in and see the exhibits is the building is air conditioned!  On a hot summer day, it’s important to know where to go to take a break at the fair.

There is over $15,000 in prize money offered in reward money for the culinary and baking arts competitions!  The ribbons are also pretty fun.  Peanut Butter Caramel Bars are so good I’m going to enter them in the “Cake Box Cookie” class under the cookie division.  So the big question is – do you have a better recipe or can you make this one better than me?

While I would love to win a ribbon and some prize money I look forward to a new hobby this summer!  I haven’t done the best at taking time to have a hobby for myself and this competition will be something that I do to have fun this summer!  I hope you consider entering too!

Collage of peanut butter caramel cookie bar made from a layer of cookies, topped with a caramel and peanut butter candy like layer and frosted with chocolate icing.

3 Comments

    1. These are some of our favorite cookie bars too! Thanks so much for the note!

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for my son-in-law, the whole family loved it.

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