Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
I have been seriously going through some salted caramel withdrawal. That, coupled with the fact that I recently had a conversation about how good it was, especially with chocolate, and then cookie bars was in there somewhere, well it basically made the pieces of the puzzle fall into place for me and, by the end of the next day, I had these bars sitting on my counter, a load of dishes in the sink, and a perfect feeling of satisfaction!
Meanwhile, toss together some flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Does anyone else out there always end up breathing in a cloud of cocoa dust when they do this? One of these days I’m probably going to wind up with Chocolate Lung. Because that is SO a thing.
Mix the cocoa mixture into the wet ingredients until completely blended. Sometimes you guys, I think watching chocolate swirl around can be borderline hypnotizing. Actually, chocolate itself is borderline hypnotizing. I think we can all agree on that.
Meanwhile, meticulously unwrap 60 caramels while thinking about the events that led up to this moment in your life where you’re alone in your kitchen unwrapping 60 caramels. Throw them in a saucepan with evaporated milk and melt them all together over low heat until smooth, relishing in the sights and smells of the whole affair.
Pour the caramel over the cookie base and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle some mini chocolate chips over the caramel. At this point in time, it would be tempting to just throw caution to the wind and ambush this creation with a spoon. But then you’d be breaking the Baker’s Law which states that you may not have a momentary breakdown and eat your creation before it’s finished because it looks so darn good.
Take the other half of the chocolate dough and carefully coax it out over the caramel, trying your best to cover the caramel as much as possible. But don’t be sad if you can’t completely reach those stubborn edges. Cookie dough has a tendency to spread out, don’t-cha-know? Bake it again for another 10 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
So that they’ll come out clean and perfect like this! To finish them off, just press some sea salt into the exposed caramel on the sides of the bars. No joke you guys, these bars are incredible. On their own or warmed up and served a la mode, these sweeties are heartstoppingly delicious and perfect on a winter night. Just make sure to keep some napkins around!
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
Source: All Things Sweet original recipe
Yield: 12 servings
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
60 unwrapped caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and add to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Spread half the dough onto the bottom of a greased 9×9 inch square baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes until set.
Meanwhile, place the caramels and evaporated milk into a medium saucepan. Cook slowly over low heat until melted and completely smooth. Pour the caramel over the cookie base and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, then carefully spread the other half of the cookie dough over the top until well-covered. Bake for another 10 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill for several hours before cutting into bars. Press some sea salt into the exposed caramel on the sides of each bar.