Friday, March 23, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Why is it that salted caramel in a recipe always sounds so good? And when did salted caramel replace regular caramel as the "in" thing? I have no answer to these questions, but what I do know is that these cookie bars are pretty amazing! Two layers of chocolate chip cookies with salted caramel in between. Who could say no to that?

Another plus is that these are easy to make. You whip up your batch of cookies, press half of the mixture into the pan, melt the caramels and pour them over the bottom layer, then spoon the top layer on. The one trick I used was for the second layer. Instead of just spooning the second layer on, I scooped a spoonful and flattened it in my hand before placing it over the caramel. This worked well for me because if I tried to spoon it on then the caramel was moved from where I wanted it.

This is definitely a "must make again" recipe, which is saying a lot since there are so many recipes out there that I still want to make. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Source: Two Peas and their Pod

2 1/8 cups all-purpose 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

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking pan (11x17) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

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.

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.

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.

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.