I love the combination of sweet and salty snacks, like chocolate covered pretzels. I think that’s why lots of people love those delicious Kitchen Sink Cookies from Panera. But sometimes, you want the same flavors of your favorite sweet treat in a different form. These delicious kitchen sink cookie bars are a fun way to enjoy a salty sweet snack. And when you make a few adjustments to the recipe, it’s also an amazing gluten free dessert!
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If you’re searching for a fun new way to enjoy your favorite cookies from Panera, look no further! This kitchen sink cookie bar recipe is the perfect mix of salty and sweet. And the best part is that you can easily make them gluten free with two simple adjustments! I think these are my new favorite easy gluten free recipe!
But what I really love about these delicious cookie bars is that they’re so easy to make! Just mix up the ingredients, add in the salty and sweet mix-ins, and pour them into a pan to bake.
Kitchen Sink Cookie Bars Recipe
To make this easy recipe for kitchen sink cookie bars, you’ll only need a few simple ingredients:
- Brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Chocolate chips (both semi-sweet and dark)
- Caramel pieces
After reading that list of ingredients, I bet you’re ready to whip up these salty sweet cookie bars so you can enjoy them yourself, right? The first step toward making your own kitchen sink cookie bars is to beat the butter and sugars together until they’re well combined. The mixture will be light in color and fluffy when it’s ready.
After the sugar and butter are mixed well, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
To a separate bowl, add your flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they’re well combined.
Then, pour the flour mixture into your sugar mixture and beat until well mixed. Your dough will more closely resmble brownie batter than cookie batter at this point.
Now it’s time to mix in all those delicious salty and sweet add-ins! Pour in your chocolate chips, caramel, and pretzel pieces. You can add in all the mix-ins to the batter now or save a handful of each ingredient to decorate the top of your cookie bars — that’s what I did.
Spread the batter into a parchment paper lined 8×8 baking dish. If you saved some of your mix-ins to add to your toppings, just sprinkle them over the top of the batter before adding the pan to the oven.
Bake your kitchen sink cookie bars for 30 to 35 minutes. The cookie bars are ready when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Kitchen Sink Cookie Bar Tips
This easy recipe for kitchen sink bar cookies is delicious and simple! But if you have questions as you’re baking, I probably have the answer!
How do I make this recipe gluten free?
Making this into a gluten free recipe is so simple! I’ve tried both ways and both desserts turned out amazing. To make gluten free kitchen sink cookie bars, simply swap out the all-purpose flour in the recipe for gluten free baking flour. You’ll use the same amount of gluten free flour as the recipe calls for (1 1/2 cups). And instead of traditional pretzels, you should use gluten free pretzels. The rest of the ingredients in this easy cookie bar recipe are already gluten free, so simply make those two subsititutions and follow the recipe as written.
What is the best gluten free flour to use?
I’ve tried a variety of gluten free flours when baking and I have found the best one is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour by far!
How do I know when to take the cookie bars out of the oven?
You’ll know the cookie bars are done when the top is golden brown and the center is set. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the cookie bars. If it comes out clean, the cookie bars are done.
Should I wait for the cookie bars to cool before cutting them?
It will be difficult, but you have to wait for the cookie bars to cool completely before you cut them! If you cut the bars while they’re still hot (or even warm), they’ll fall apart thanks to all that gooey chocolate and caramel inside the bars.
What kind of caramel did you use?
For these cookie bars, I used Kraft caramel squares. To make them into smaller pieces, I just used a sharp knife to cut them before mixing them into the batter. You can also use these caramel bits in your cookie bars. They’re easier to mix in, but don’t make the bars as gooey as traditional caramel pieces do.
Can I add other ingredients to the cookie bars?
Yes!! Add to your heart’s desire. The next time I make these, I’m going to experiment with some different add-ins to see how they taste. Here are a few ideas I might try next time:
- Potato chips
- Toffee bits
- White chocolate chips
- Mint chips
- Mini M&Ms
- Chopped chocolate covered pretzels
- Peanut butter chips
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup caramel pieces
- ½ cup chopped pretzels
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat to combine.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, caramel, and pretzels. Reserve a small amount of each ingredient for sprinkling on top of the cookie bars, if desired.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Top with reserved chocolate chips, caramel, and pretzel pieces.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center of the cookie bars is set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.
To make these kitchen sink cookie bars gluten free, substitute the all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 cups gluten free baking flour and replace the pretzels with crushed gluten free pretzels.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 31gProtein: 5g
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Emily is a midwestern mom of two boys. She loves all things DIY — from home renovations to kids birthday party planning. Whether she’s making a new farmhouse craft for her home or helping her kids with a cool activity, you can bet she’s in the middle of some kind of DIY project (or three) right now!