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Pine Nut and Chocolate Caramel Bars

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 24 bars

With an orange-scented shortbread crust, gooey caramel topping, and delicate chocolate drizzle, this addictive treat is a great riff on the classic chocolate turtle candy.


For the crust

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 6 pieces
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the topping

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pine nuts

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 310
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 170
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 35
  • Sodium (mg): 35
  • Carbohydrates (g): 31
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 3


Make the crust

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a straight-sided 13×9-inch metal baking pan with a large piece of heavy-duty foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, orange zest, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl. On low speed, mix in the flour until the dough is uniformly sandy, 1 to 2 minutes.

    Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack.

    Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring frequently, until smooth (be careful not to get any water in the chocolate). With a small offset spatula, spread all but about 2 Tbs. of the melted chocolate evenly over the cooled crust. Return the bowl with the remaining chocolate to the skillet of warm water and set aside off the heat to keep warm.

Make the topping

  • Put 3 Tbs. of water in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan. Pour the sugar in the center of the pan and pat it down with a spatula just until evenly moistened. Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the syrup turns amber, 6 to 8 minutes; swirl the pan as the sugar caramelizes to help it cook evenly. Slowly whisk in the cream (be careful—it will bubble vigorously and produce a lot of steam). Whisk in the butter and salt and boil until the butter is combined, 1 minute more.

Assemble the bars

  • Pour the caramel evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the caramel. Bake until the caramel is bubbling all over and jiggles only slightly in the center when the pan is nudged, 24 to 26 minutes. If necessary, reheat the remaining chocolate until fluid. With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the top. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • brozy_a | 10/17/2017

    These are fantastic! The pine nuts and orange are a great spin on an already good cookie. I included them on my holiday plate a few years ago and they were by far the favorite cookie. Everyone raved about them.

  • alexiako | 01/04/2012

    I love caramel bars, and so I search some recipes on it. I just read this article posted and followed exactly as it was written. Unfortunately, I was not able to do serve just like the picture. It was too greasy and the caramel sticks to your teeth. Try this site, http://www.gourmetrecipe.com

  • Luv_to_bake | 10/06/2011

    These bars are delicious. I've made them several times and everyone loves them! The recipe is easy to follow.Pine nuts are expensive but worth using here.

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