Adapted from aspicyperspective.com
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
7 ounces low-fat sweetened condensed milk
5 ounces caramels bits (Kraft)
Flaked sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil and liberally coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. Add the flour and stir with a spoon to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips.
4. Press half of the cookie dough (a little more if necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan) into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
5. In a small sauce pot, add the sweetened condensed milk and caramels. Set over medium-low heat and stir until the caramels melt, making a smooth caramel filling. Pour the filling over the cookie dough base.
6. Drop the remaining cookie dough over the caramel filling in small teaspoons-sized clumps. Gently spread to corners and flatten as much as possible without swirling into the caramel. Bake the bars for 22-15 minutes, until the center is just set.
7. Immediately out of the oven, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow the bars to cool completely. Lift the bars out of the pan by the edges of the foil and cut. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For a chewier versus a gooier bar, refrigerate.
NOTE: These bars can also be frozen. This is great for folks who want a chocolatey gooey treat but don't need an entire pan all at once!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (printable recipe)