I’d seen this recipe on Two Peas and their Pod’s blog a while ago and knew I’d make it at some stage.
This morning while laying in bed, again wondering why I can’t sleep beyond 5:20am, I was catching up on my Twitter feed and came across the Top 10 recipes on Two Peas and their Pod’s blog. These cookie bars were number 4.
I’ve also been looking for a reason to use up the last of the caramel sauce I’d made. It wasn’t so much a sauce having thickened after being in the fridge. I added some cream to it which sorted it out. The recipe calls for caramels, as in sweets, but I haven’t found anywhere in Christchurch you can buy caramel sweets, the soft type not made with a bunch of artificial flavours and preservatives. Of course I’ve come across a number of blogs with recipes to make your own. One day. But the “sauce” I had did the trick.
As well as using the sauce in place of the caramels, I used some Caramel chocolate bits along with some dark chocolate bits. It’s the first time I’ve used Caramel bits.
I’ve got to say that I’m very thankful for the sea salt on the caramel layer. Without it, the “bar” would be too sweet, even sweeter than what I can usually take.
In these parts this wouldn’t be called a “bar”, but a “slice”. I’ll stick with the bar since I’ve almost followed the recipe as written.
- 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (I measured 360 gm standard flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars
My notes: I replaced 1 cup light brown sugar for 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 cup Muscavado sugar. As mentioned I used a caramel sauce I had instead of caramels and I used only 1.5 cups of chocolate total. 2 cups just seemed over the top, even by my standards.
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Spray a 2-quart baking pan (which is an 11 X 7 pan-I used a glass Pyrex dish) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on High until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
6.Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.
My notes: I used a metal tin that was a little smaller, 11 X 6.5. I placed the cookie topping on, placing small bits of dough on the caramel layer. I felt it would be too difficult to spoon the dough on and then smooth other. There were a couple of holes where the cookie dough hadn’t quite covered, but for the most part using my fingers gave a better coverage (in my opinion – or at least created less stress that the top wasn’t perfectly/adequately covered). I didn’t add any additional sea salt on top of the cookie dough, only on top of the caramel layer. My bar only took 25 minutes to cook. The top cookie layer is lovely and crisp like you’d expect of a Chocolate Chip cookie. The bottom layer is cooked, but there’s no crunch like the top layer.
Because I don’t know what the American caramels are like, or their consistency with a couple of tablespoons of cream, I don’t know if the consistency of my caramel sauce would match. You can see that it’s oozing a little bit, but the bar wasn’t completely cool when I cut it.
I cut my bar up into 24 pieces, and then cut a piece on the diagonal, which gave me a triangle. That size is sufficient, believe me. Better to take a smaller piece and go back for seconds (when no one is looking!) than take a bigger piece and feel like you’re struggling through it and lose enjoyment of eating it.
So there we have it. My first cookie bar. I’m glad I made it. Wasn’t fiddly at all. Tastes good, but now that I’ve made it I’m satisfied. I probably wont make it again. Not having caramels plays a big part in that decision. Of course you could just buy a caramel sauce (a thick caramel sauce) instead.
I had every intention of having a bake-free weekend. We’re away for a few days next week so there’s no point filling the Tupperware containers. But I just couldn’t leave it alone.