So I love the Dream Bars from PotBelly’s.  I have been working hard to recreate them.  In order to get everything right, I went to PotBelly’s and purchased a bunch of dream bars.  Come to find out, I wasn’t too far off, but I wasn’t right either.  When I tasted the Dream Bars, I noticed that the bars did not contain coconut or nuts.  Basically they are a nice chewy crust, a gooey layer, topped with chocolate chips, and a oatmeal cookie topping that is dolloped over the top.  I have the crust and gooey layer down.  Just need to figure out a way to make the cookie topping.

Dream Bar #3
Dream Bar #3

I used a 8×8 pan but a 9×13 pan would make these come out perfect.

Dream Bars III

  • Crust
    • 6 tbs softened butter
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • pinch of salt
  • Topping
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs flour
    • 1/2 cup oats
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and the brown sugar.  When light and fluffy add the oats, flour and salt.  Press the crust into a 9×13 pan.  I used a 8×8 pan but the bars came out a little thick.  A 9×13 pan would make these come out perfect.

Press the crust into the pan
Press the crust into the pan

Place the crust in the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes.

While the crust is blind baking, mix the eggs and brown sugar in a bowl.  Stir in 1tbs of flour and the vanilla.  Mix well.

Mix the gooey center
Mix the gooey center

When the crust is done baking remove it from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes.  Make sure that it is cool to the touch, or else it will melt your chocolate chips.  Then pour half of the egg mixture over the crust.  Then cover the bars with the chocolate chips.

Make sure the crust is cooled, or else you will have a melted chocolate layer
Make sure the crust is cooled, or else you will have a melted chocolate layer

With the remaining half of the egg mixture in the bowl, add the 1/2 cup flour, oats and baking soda.  Mix to form a semi-soft cookie dough.

Using a spoon dollop the cookie dough over the top of the bars.

Dollop the cookie onto the pan.  Don't worry if you don't have enough to cover the whole dish.
Dollop the cookie onto the pan. Don't worry if you don't have enough to cover the whole dish.

Place the bars in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Bake until the cookie dough looks set, but is not quite browned.

I cooked mine a bit too long, I was playing megatouch in the basement and forgot I was baking.  My bad.
I cooked mine a bit too long, I was playing megatouch in the basement and forgot I was baking. My bad.

This is my closest recipe yet.  I am almost ready to say that I have the recipe down.  I baked mine a little too long so they dried up a bit, but the flavor is spot on.  Let me know what you think.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

13 Comments

  1. Rex,

    Excellent work. I got the recipe down with just a few modifications. I made the bars, as you suggested, in a 9×13 pan, but I made double the crust to cover all the space. I also set my over for 275 because I know the Dream Bars seemed just barely cookie and almost more like cookie dough. I baked the crust for 9 mins at 275, added the rest, and baked that for 12-15 mins, just letting the top rise and get a little brown. I found they were best after they had cooled completely, which kept them together better and is how they serve them at Potbelly. With these modifications, I was shocked to find that I had actually recreated the dream bars. I really wasn't expecting it to happen. Thanks for your hard work figuring the secret out and posting! IT WORKS!

    • Rex Reply

      Glad to hear it Sean. I love those bars. Thanks for posting your modifications. I am gonna have to make them with your suggestions. I can't wait.

  2. Just put these in the oven, and I'm super excited to try them. I have a good feeling about this recipe!

  3. Thanks to those of you who are trying to recreate this wonderful food. I did know 2 things about these bas, one you figured out on your own…there are no nuts or cocoanut. The other thing is that there is caramel in them. The girl working in the store and I talked about liking to pick our own bars, I said "I like to look or the ones with the most caramel showing" and she said "i know! i know!! thats the best part!! To me it looks like the caramel goes right over the crust, whever i get a piece that was an edge piece you can see quite a bit of it . Either there or if there is an empty spot with no cooke/oats/whatever blob on there (not to be said in a mean way, I love those blobs lol or chocolate chips. So there is definitely some kind of layer of caramel between the crust and the top piece. Happy Dreambarrin'!!

  4. Try a layer of sweetened condensed milk. It will caramelize as it bakes and give you that caramel layer.

  5. I just made your recipe last week and it was delicious. Maybe not quite the dream bar, but delicious, non the less. But as I was sitting in my kitchen, eating an actual Dream Bar (my husband was in Chicago yesterday on business) I read over the list of ingredients on the back of the bar. I do agree there is an actual caramel layer, that you would make separately from the other layers and add it on top of the crust. The Dream bar I just ate, listed the caramel ingredients first. Unfortunately there are some preservatives, but we don't need to use these at home. A caramel made from sweetened condensed whole milk, brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and vanilla and cooked to a medium hard ball stage would be good. Or you could use a high quality carmel sauce or melt some of your favorite caramels and pour over the crust. Then follow the rest of your recipe for the topping. I am going to use 1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips next time because it seemed a little too much to be like the Dream Bar. But I really enjoyed your original recipe. It is sooooo close! I am addicted! If my husband travels to Chicago on business and fails to bring home some of the Dream Bars (purchased at the Potbellys in Midway Airport) he will be grounded!!! 🙂

  6. Whaaaaat. How is there no butter in the topping? My brother and I are making these tomorrow for my mom's birthday and I'm so curious how the topping works out without any butter!

    • Anika – I loved the texture and taste without any butter at all. I might have to make a dream bar #4 and try butter though. To be honest I never thought it was lacking butter. But now that I think of it, it might be. I will try and let you know.

  7. Nadine Weyersberg Reply

    If you want to try adding caramel, I make a "chocolate caramel brownie bar" and they have you melt the caramels in some condensed "Pet" milk in the microwave on low heat, stirring frequently. Sometimes you have to stir vigorously to blend the caramels & milk once they are heated. Pour on the caramel mixture just before you put on the chocolate chips. :* )

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