Wednesday, March 7, 2012

RECIPE: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I have a new obsession... it's name is Pinterest.  I am a bulletin board sort person, and while I have many methods of organizing my life like computers, iphones, iclouds and ipads I choose the old fashioned pen and paper sort of way.  This is not to say I don't use my calendar functions, but at work where EVERYTHING I do has to be meticulously organized and at a glance, my bulletin boards are the only way to go. In light of my affinity to bulletin boards, I think Pinterest is one of the most genius inventions in quite some time. Pretty, categorized, online bulletin boards which take my OCD to whole new levels- frankly, it does not get better than that!  My baking board probably has the most pins and is where this delightful little bar came from.  I changed a couple of things in the recipe though (I can't help it!). The recipe I found had ready-made milkmaid caramels in it; I made my own caramel. I tried it with the candies the first time around and decided that I'd rather not have all that artificial stuff in my sugar fix. I also found that when the bars set, those little caramels get a little hard which makes the bars a little messy looking and difficult to cut into perfect little squares. I will post the fleur the sel caramel recipe next, it's super easy to make and eat.... a bit too easy for my own good.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (3 sticks)
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups caramel with fleur de sel (1 recipe)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
12" x 12" square pan, greased well.
In large mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugars.  Mix at medium speed until fluffy and incorporated.  Add eggs and yolks one at a time, then vanilla and mix until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the flour mixture to dough and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Add chocolate chips and mix until combined.
Press half cookie mixture evenly in pan, making sure you cannot see the bottom of the pan.  It's more important to completely cover the bottom of the pan than to only use half of the dough. 
Spread caramel in small clumps keeping it away from the sides of the pan a little. (This makes getting the bars out of the pan a LOT easier). Top with additional cookie dough spreading lightly. It's okay if its not completely covering the caramel.
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  
Cool the bars completely, at least 2 hours.  Slice into desired size rectangles or squares. 
The recipe may be halved- use a 9" square pan

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