Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

by angelika on December 28, 2011

Are you tired of cookies and sweets yet? Not in our house, I can tell you that. Seeing as how we have made these cookie bars twice, in as many weeks, I think it may be something worth sharing even after the Christmas cookie season has concluded. After all, these would go excellently with champagne for New Years! 
These Chocolate Caramel cookie bars come courtesy of Martha Stewart. They are everything I love in a treat. Chocolate, caramel and shortbread. Bliss. The first time I made them I followed her recipe exactly, and they were great. A few actually made it into the teacher cookie boxes, albeit not nearly as many as initially planned. The second time around I subbed semisweet chocolate for milk. I really prefer it. Having made the Sweet and Salty Cake for Mr Fabulous’s birthday, I knew dark chocolate and caramel made beautiful bedfellows. You can choose either, depending on your taste. 

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

crust:
9 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

chocolate caramel:
10 1/2 ounces chopped milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fleur de sel for finishing
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Line a square brownie pan with parchment, cutting the corners so it lays right, and leave an overhang so you can life the cookie out later. Butter the parchment well. 
Mix the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the salt and then the flour. Mix until just combined.

Press dough into the prepared pan, and try to get it even. Bake 30 minutes looking for a golden brown color. Let the cookie cool, in the pan. 

Chop the chocolate, I like to use a food processor to make ganache, so I use it to chop too. Set the chocolate aside.

Make the caramel by combining the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, on medium heat. Stir until the sugar melts. Then increase the heat to medium high and let it sit until the sugar is a caramel color. 6-10 minutes. Use a wet pastry brush to wash the sides of the pan every so often. Otherwise crystals can form in the caramel. Do not stir. If it seems to be turning color unevenly, gently swirl the pan.

Once the mixture turns golden, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, butter and salt. It will spit and sputter, this is normal. Put the pan back on the heat and stir until everything is smooth and combined. 

Pour the hot caramel over the chopped chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes. Then stir, or whiz if you are using a food processor. 

Pour chocolate over the cookie bar and refrigerate. At least 4 hours, but overnight is better.

Remove the bars using the parchment overhang. Sprinkle fleur de sel on top. Cut into 16 bars.

A votre santé! 

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