I was in the mood for something simple when I made these bars. I had a box of graham crackers that had been taking up space in my pantry for far too long, but I didn’t have anything to make a pie or a cheesecake or anything like that with, which is what you normally see graham cracker crumbs used for. I searched the Internet high and low, trying to figure out something to do with this box of graham crackers that I had. I finally found this recipe for ooey, gooey caramel bars with a graham cracker crust. I added in some raw peanuts for texture and toffee bits for an even more rich flavor. These taste like pure caramel heaven. It seems that these might be too sweet, but they really aren’t, considering what they are. There is a slight cinnamon flavor, too, which I think makes them wonderfully appropriate for the season. I added the white chocolate drizzle on top for a brighter flavor profile; it doesn’t hurt aesthetically, either! I would happily enjoy one of these on a cool autumn night with a hot cup of cider or hot chocolate – the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work!
On an unrelated note, be sure to check out my Curried Butternut Squash Post to see how you can win a trip home for the Holidays from Folgers!
Pulse your graham crackers into fine crumbs. I used my food processor, but you can also use a blender. Separate the crumbs – you will need 3 cups for the crust, and 3/4 cups for the filling.
Combine your graham cracker crumbs with your butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
Beat them together until a dough forms, no more than a minute or so.
Press the dough into a 9×13 pan, preferably lined with parchment or foil so it is easy to lift out and cut when cooled, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Allow to cool a bit while you finish making the filling.
Beat together the 2 1/2 cups brown sugar and 4 eggs.
Beat in the graham cracker crumbs, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder until smooth, then fold in the peanuts and toffee pieces, if using, by hand.
Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or so, until the filling is golden and mostly set, although it will still jiggle a bit when you shake the pan – it will solidify as it cools. If you’re worried about it not being set enough, cover with foil and continue baking, so that the top does not brown as fast.
When the bars are completely cool, melt your white chocolate in 30-second intervals in the microwave.
Place the white chocolate in a sealable bag, cut a tiny bit of the top off, and drizzle the white chocolate over the bars in a zig-zag motion.
Cut into bars when completely cooled.
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (I believe I used about 2 sleeves for this)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flours
- 2½ cups packed brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (I believe I used 4-5 graham crackers for this)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅔ cups raw peanuts (optional - or you can use any nut you like)
- ¼ cup toffee bits (optional)
- ⅓ cup white chocolate, melted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor or blender, pulse your graham crackers into crumbs if you're not buying pre-bought crumbs (which you can do and speeds up the process). I used a little over 2 sleeves of graham crackers for this recipe.
- Beat the graham crackers, butter, sugar, and flour together until just moistened, until a dough forms. Line a 9x13 pan with foil or parchment paper, spray with a little Pam, and press the dough into the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside until you have finished with the filling.
- Beat together the brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Beat in the ⅔ cup graham cracker crumbs, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder. Fold in the peanuts and toffee by hand, if using them. Bake for 25 minutes or so, until the filling is golden and mostly set, although it will still jiggle a bit when you shake the pan - it will solidify as it cools. If you're worried about it not being set enough, cover with foil and continue baking, so that the top does not brown as fast.
- Allow the bars to cool COMPLETELY before drizzling with white chocolate or cutting into them. When they have cooled, melt your white chocolate in 30-second intervals until smooth, then place in a sealable bag, cut a small tip off of the corner, and drizzle in a zig-zag motion over the bars. Cut into squares and serve - I like serving bars like this in regular sized muffin cups for easy eating! Makes 28-32 bars.