Caramel Espresso Bars have an incredible combination of chocolate and caramel that will make you swoon! Plus tossing some espresso in the mix only accentuates the marvelous chocolate ganache. These mocha bars will only get rave reviews!

These gooey Caramel Bars are ideal for the mocha lovers in your life! A graham cracker crust is topped with caramel then a dark chocolate espresso topping!

Caramel espresso bars stacked on a small square white plate.

Why You Must Make

  • If you want to treat a caramel and mocha lover to a treat, these espresso bars will do the trick!!
  • This recipe originated from Giada DeLaurentis!
  • I made these for a bridal shower and every single bar was eaten!! These and my Cheesecake Pops were definitely the crowd favorites.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Sugar, Butter (salted is OK), Brown Sugar
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs – From a box or make your own in a food processor (about 12 rectangles)
  • Heavy Cream – 36% Butterfat
  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips – I like using Ghirardelli brand
  • Instant Espresso Powder – I keep Medaglia D’Oro brand in my kitchen.
Wedges of Caramel Espresso Bars on a rectangular white ceramic tray.

Recipe Tips

I remade these bars for my mocha-loving son to take to work, but kept a few back to share with my girlfriends. The first comment was, “Oh, my God.” Then another friend asked if I thought she could make them for the Thanksgiving weekend. The answer was YES. Then I got a “Wow!” via text from a neighbor and her husband. They were wildly successful once again!

  • My tweaks from the original recipe were minimal. I used regular graham crackers instead of cinnamon and baked these in a square pan instead of a round spring-form pan.
  • Giada added more espresso powder, but 1 teaspoon gave a nice coffee undertone to the topping. Feel free to add up to 1¾ teaspoons for a more pronounced flavor.
  • PRO-Tip: A candy thermometer is imperative for making the proper consistency caramel. Mine reached about 244º and was perfect.
  • Make certain the caramel is cool before adding the chocolate layer and chill well before cutting. It’s also best to keep the cut bars in a covered container in the refrigerator after slicing. This will keep the caramel from oozing if they get too warm.
  • Alternatively, these bars freeze well.
  • Note that the crust can be a bit crumbly. It was a challenge to get picture-perfect slices, but my friends didn’t mind one bit!
  • If you love a touch of salt with your sweets, you can sprinkle a bit of coarse salt over the ganache before it hardens. I used coarse sugar instead.

You will not regret making these splendid bars!

Caramel Espresso Bars stacked on a square white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a strong, dark coffee made with finely ground Italian coffee beans blended to make espresso. Made by forcing steam or very hot water through the grounds, the results are a layer of beige foam over the coffee. It’s served in small espresso cups.

Why Didn’t My Caramel Set?

If your caramel mixture does not cook long enough to reach 240°, it will not be firm when it cools. Make sure to use an accurate food thermometer to monitor the temperature as the caramel cooks.

How Do You Slice Caramel Bars?

Chilling them first will help, then make sure to use a hot dry knife. The heat will help cut through sticky caramel. Make sure to clean and dry the knife between slices.

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Caramel Espresso Bars stacked on a square white plate

Caramel Espresso Bars

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 16 servings

Layered bars with a graham cracker crust, caramel layer and a chocolate espresso topping!



  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 rectangles)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 ounces butter, melted (1 ½ sticks)


  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with non-stick foil or regular foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray...leave some excess on two sides to assist with removal.
  2. In a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar and process until finely ground. Add the melted butter and blend until well combined.
  3. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the pan, pressing gently to form an even layer.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is golden. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. While the crust is cooling, in a heavy saucepan, combine ½ cup of cream, 1 stick of butter, brown sugar, and water.
  6. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240º (mine reached 244º), about 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Carefully pour the caramel over the warm crust. Cool for 20 minutes. Freeze until firm, about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Combine the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30-second increments, stopping and stirring till the mixture is melted and smooth. Whisk in the espresso powder.
  9. Remove the pan from the freezer, and check to see that the caramel has cooled and solidified.
  10. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel layer and smooth with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
  11. Remove bars from the pan using foil. Use a knife dipped in hot water and dried to cut bars.


Adapted from Giada/Food Network.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bar

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 129mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 34gProtein: 2g


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Shelli, Maggie and Molly at the bridal shower

The sweet mother of the bride, the bride-to-be,
and the bride’s sister.

Bridal shower hostsses

My fabulous co-hosts!