I have been baking and putting together my treat baskets to give away. I just love to do that every year. It gives me a great excuse to get in the kitchen and not be tempted to eat it!:) I came across these in my Martha Stewart Living (sorry for back to back Martha posts!) and thought they sounded great for my baskets. These turned out so pretty and tasted good, but they are a little too sweet for me. Next time I think I might double the crust recipe, use a smaller pan or just not use all the caramel so that that layer is thinner. They had really great flavor, and I loved the salty bite that the sea salt brings. I really enjoyed making these. I accidentally used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate with the caramel and they worked well. I didn’t end up using these in my baskets because the caramel layer was sticking to the bags, so I sent them to work with Adam and everyone really loved them.
Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2009
For the Crust:
4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
For the Chocolate Caramel:
10 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the crust:
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.
Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Make the chocolate caramel:
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.