Home » Sweet Tooth » Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Try these chocolate caramel shortbread bars for your next sweet treat. They’re like a homemade Twix bar! Jazz them up with sprinkles for a delicious holiday dessert.

This post was originally published in 2017. I’ve since redone the text of the post but the recipe remains the same

I’m bringing you a whole lotta yum today!! I have officially kicked off my holiday cookie baking, and the first star of the show are these homemade chocolate caramel shortbread bars. Shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. Is there really anything else you need in life!?

I made these bars this past weekend for an upcoming Christmas cookie exchange with some girlfriends. We’ve been doing this fun little holiday event every year for the past 3 years, and it’s always a fun night filled with a lot of sugary sweets, and obviously a whole lot of laughter. I wanted to do something a little different than a traditional cookie this year, so these chocolate caramel shortbread bars came to be!

So, how do you make caramel from condensed milk?

YOU GUYS. Have you ever made caramel in a can!? It’s the easiest (and most mess free) way to make the most delicious, thick, creamy caramel. Heating the closed can of condensed milk prevents the milk from evaporating as it cooks, creating that super soft, creamy, dulce de leche style of caramel we all love – which is perfect for the middle of a cookie bar!

The only limiting factor in making the caramel filling this way is that it does take 3 hours or so to heat the condensed milk, so you’ll want to leave enough time for this! Apparently you can speed up this process by doing it in a pressure cooker, but I’m way too scared to try it…the pressure cooker scares me enough already – I don’t need an exploding can on my hands!

Alternatively, you can make a caramel filling by combining some store-bought caramels, cutting them into chunks, and heating them up over the stove with a few tablespoons of cream. OR to make things even easier, just buy the can of dulce de leche next to the cans of condensed milk!

Either way, you want to make sure your caramel is fairly thick and not runny. 

holiday twix bars

How long does it take to make chocolate caramel shortbread bars?

As I stated above, if you’re making the caramel from a can of condensed milk, this will take you about 3 hours from start to finish.

Along with the long time allowed for the caramel, you’ll need to leave time for each layer of the bars to firm up in the fridge. I would leave yourself a full afternoon to make these, or you could put it together over a couple of days in stages.

The base of these cookies is a basic shortbread recipe – no mixer required! It’ll take you about 40 minutes, including the bake time.

What kind of chocolate do you use for the topping?

For the topping, you can use any high quality chocolate, or you can just use simple semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’ll be delicious either way. I like to use a dark chocolate, at least 70%.

‘Because it’s the holidays, I’ve decorated my bars with some silver and gold sanding sugar. You could also just leave the sparkle out altogether or have some fun with other sprinkles and toppings. I think crushed nuts would also be delightful!!

holiday twix bars

As you can see, I’m ramping up the holiday spirit big time here at LIMO. The tree has been trimmed, zoo lights have been seen, and hot chocolate has been drank. Now, what’s next? 🙂

More cookies, of course. Stay tuned!

holiday twix bars

I LOVE chocolate and caramel, but I do love other combinations too! Check out my brownies and bars section for other great bars for the holidays:

You would also really enjoy these chocolate chai spiced crumble bars from Crumb Top Baking!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
chocolate caramel shortbread bars

Holiday Twix Bars

  • Author: Katherine
  • Total Time: 6 hours 60 minutes
  • Yield: 40 bars 1x


Buttery shortbread layered with a thick, creamy dulce de leche filling and a smooth chocolate topping. The ultimate sweet tooth satisfier! 



Shortbread Layer

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Caramel Filling

  • 2 cans (330 mL) sweetened condensed milk*

Chocolate Topping

  • 2 1/2 cups dark chocolate, chopped (or semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Prepare the caramel by filling a large pot with water, and bringing to a boil. Once boiling, add the cans, placing them on their side to ensure they are fully submerged into the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and “cook” the cans for 2.5-3 hours. Be sure that the cans are fully covered in water, adding more water as necessary. Do not allow the cans to cook without enough water to cover them. Remove the cans from the water, and allow to cool completely (at least 1 hour) before opening and using.
  2. Prepare the shortbread. Preheat the oven to 300 F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, combine the ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Empty the mixture into the casserole dish and pack it in firmly. Bake the shortbread for 30-32 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  3. Open the cans of caramel and empty the entire can onto the cooled shortbread. Spread the caramel evenly over the entire dish and place in the fridge to set, about 1 hour.
  4. Place the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly. Top with sanding sugar or sprinkles, as desired. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into squares to serve.

Bars can be kept at room temperature, but the caramel will be soft. The bars keep best in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Bars also freeze well, up to 2 months.


  1. You can also make the caramel process easier by purchasing the premade cans of dulce de leche next to the cans of sweetened condensed milk at the store!
  2. The easiest way to cut the bars is by heating a large knife with hot water, and wiping dry before carefully cutting. Continue to reheat the knife and wipe dry for continual cutting.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: desserts
  • Method: bake and refrigerate

Keywords: chocolate caramel shortbread bars // copycat Twix bars // caramel chocolate squares // Twix bars recipe

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

holiday twix bars


Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars


  1. Ben|Havocinthekitchen

    I do like dulce de leche, and the approach you describe results in the best caramel you can ask for. But, as you said, you gotta keep an eye on boiling cans as they can explode if the water is evaporated. That happened to me once, long time ago (I was a teenager). Another cool thing is that you can play a little with time cutting or adding 15 minutes or so – the results will be different every time. And the hardest thing for me would be staying strong and not eating all the caramel just straight from the jar. Seriously, I don’t need much time to make a can disappear. And these bars? Killing combo! I need to buy 4 cans of condensed milk to make this. Why 4? Having 4 cans will give a subtle chance that a part of the caramel would make to the bars 🙂

    • Oh my!!! I have heard of the exploding can situation. Terrifying. I should probably put a big “danger” notice on the recipe! I found my water didn’t evaporate very quickly (I only had to top it up once) so it didn’t seem like a huge concern. I do think that buying 4 cans is the smart thing to do Ben!! We have a hard time keeping the caramel for a recipe – I literally have to beat my husband away with a stick 😉 Cheers!

  2. I don’t like Twix but they are my sisters favorite candy bar! Surely she’d love these

  3. The one time I tried to make dulce de leche with sweetened condensed milk I forgot about it and ended up destroying one of my pans 😊 Bad memories aside, these bars look FAB! It might be time for me to revisit dulce de leche…Happy Tuesday!

  4. crumbtopbaking

    Okay, I think I’m just going to put my baking list on hold, and just make whatever you post from here until Christmas! These look amazing! And I’m still determined to make one of your last recipes for no-bake chocolate coconut baskets! And how did I not know about heating condensed milk to turn it into caramel?!?! Genius!!

  5. So much YES! These look amazing Katherine! Shortbread, caramel, chocolate – everything you could possibly want in a cookie. I can’t wait to give these a try. P.S. I would be so scared too to put that can in the pressure cooker. The stove top works just fine for me, thank you very much 😉 Pinned! Hope you’re having a lovely week, my friend! XO

  6. This is a great recipe to start the holiday baking Katherine. I still cannot believe that Chrismas is just a few weeks away…Where on earth did the year go….its crazy. Anyway it is delicious recipes like this one that makes me happy to bake during the festive season. Absolutely love it and definitely pinning.

    • I can’t believe it either!! It’s officially the beginning of December tomorrow (how did that happen)!? I love all of the delicious recipes this time of year too – it’s the perfect excuse to bake indulgent treats!! Cheers Ashika!

  7. these look so good!!! i kind of associate twix bars with halloween (one of my favorite candies to get at halloween), but they’re so tasty that i’d love them any time of the year (:

  8. marcie@flavorthemoments

    When my kids were younger and went trick or treating, they always knew to save me some Twix bars from their stash! haha These homemade Twix bars are head and shoulders above those — I’m loving that gooey middle! These look just delicious Katherine!

  9. Cookie exchanges are the best!! The only problem is I always have to make triple the amount of cookies, because it’s guaranteed that both Boy and I will want a batch for ourselves before the exchange. Lol. We are fatties. 😉 Anyways, my husband LOVES twix, so I totally need to surprise him with a batch of these bars!! They look absolutely delicious, chicka!!! Cheers!

    • Hahah – oh Chey. We are fatties too! My husband was far too invested in this cookie exchange 😉 I definitely had to do a double batch of both of my cookies otherwise he would have been pretty unimpressed if I gave them all away! I bet your guy would love these if he’s a twix fan!! Thank you!! Cheers!

  10. WOW! You did bring a whole lotta yum!! I’ve made dulce de leche with sweetened condensed milk a couple times – and thankfully – each time they worked! I was so nervous to leave them I practically camped out by the stove! 🙂 Twix is one of my favorite candy bars so you know these are happening!!

    • It is fairly nerve-wracking, I’ll agree with that!! I was definitely hovering nearby to make sure the water level stayed high enough! It was worth all of the hovering though – it turned out so delicious! Thanks Annie! Have a great weekend!

  11. OMGee Katherine! I can’t wait to try these! I’m sure they’ll disappear quickly!

  12. This is one heavenly cookie! I don’t think I would’ve exchanged these ;-). I love making caramel this way and I agree I would be nervous to use a pressure cooker, with my luck it would explode lol. Pinned! Take care.

  13. Twix bars were my absolute favorite as a kid, but THESE blow the packaged version away! yum yum yum!

  14. I have always wanted to try making caramel in a can but have always been afraid to do it for the fear of some sort of freak accident type of explosion. It does look luscious!! These Twix bars look delicious, Katherine! I’ll bet they will go over well at the cookie exchange! Have fun!!

  15. These look super yummy! I always enjoy Twix as a kid, so I’m sure I’d love to gobble these up!

  16. Wow, could these be any dreamier? I really don’t think so!

  17. MMMMmmmm! Heavenly Katherine!! Perfect for the holidays!!

  18. Twix is my favorite candy bar!! These bars are definitely dreamy Kathy!! And that dulce-de-leche looks divine!!!!

  19. SO yummy! This trio of layers is irresistible!!!

  20. Pingback: Double Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti | Love In My Oven

  21. Pingback: Vanilla Bean Cookie Pops | Love In My Oven

  22. Pingback: Mint Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies | Love In My Oven

  23. These Homemade Twix Bars are simple to make using layers of Club. Thanks for tthis amazing recipe 🙂

  24. I definitely could polish these off in a day or 2 by myself! I love to give these away because they are so decadent and like a candy and cookie at the same time – double win! Laughing at the exploding can episode! ha! Thanks for sharing! xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.