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Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookie Bars

Posted Oct 17 2012 6:00am

Well, well, well. Today is a very special day, indeed!

Today is my friend, Lisa’s , surprise virtual baby shower!!!!! A bunch of us got together and all made little treats for the virtual party, an idea which made me completely fall in love with the blogging community all over again. I’ve known Lisa for about a year now and I can say without a doubt that she is one of the sweetest people that I know. A while back, when her and her husband still lived in California, I met up with Lisa for lunch in San Francisco and we ended up chatting for hours. I was so excited to make a new local friend but then…whomp whomp….they moved to Oregon. We roomed together at BlogHer Food last June and had a blast though. I can’t wait to visit her once her little guy arrives. Her blog features all these yummy gluten-free recipes and entertaining tips — trust me, you want to check it out, even if you love gluten like me.

I decided to make these delectable salted caramel chocolate cookie bars for the party! No, they are not gluten-free but yes, they are probably one of the most delicious things you will ever put in your mouth. Think a buttery shortbread crust topped with chewy caramel, dark chocolate and flaky sea salt. It was a major struggle not to eat the entire pan myself!

I got the idea to make these after a rather aggression Twix craving.

I haven’t had Twix in years, but suddenly I NEEDED one.

Well, naturally I started baking what I thought would taste just like a homemade Twix bar but instead it sort of became its own thing, which ended up being better than any Twix I’ve ever had! If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’m a huge salted chocolate fan. Okay fine — I’m actually just a huge salt fan! I love big, flaky, crunchy sea salt….and sweet/salty dessert creations are my favorite! Here’s my favorite kind of sea salt; I highly recommend it for all your sweet and salty treats.

{if you’ve never tried these salted fudge brownies , do yourself a favor but be prepared to pull out your fat jeans first}

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookie Bars

makes about 2 dozen cookie bars

Ingredients:

for crust—

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour

for caramel layer—

10 oz plastic wrapped caramels, unwrapped and roughly chopped {I used those Fleur de Sel caramels from Trader Joe’s– fabulous!}

2 tbsp heavy cream

for chocolate layer—

12 oz dark chocolate chips

1 tbsp butter

flaky sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray a 15 x 10″ glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cream together the soft butter with the granulated sugar and powdered sugar until fluffy. Then, add the vanilla and salt. Mix in the flour until you have a soft dough then press dough into the bottom of the baking dish. Prick holes all over the dough using a fork then bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.

After baking, remove crust and let cool while you make the caramel layer.

Melt together the chopped caramels with the cream in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted completely, pour caramel over cookie crust, smoothing with a rubber spatula. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips with the butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer, smooth with a spatula, then immediately scatter flaky sea salt all over the top. Set in the fridge for an hour to cool completely before slicing.

To slice cookie bars, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen then gently take the entire large “cookie bar” out of the pan and place on the counter. Using a HOT knife (keep the knife in a mug of hot water), cut into bars. The hot knife is key here — be sure to wipe knife with a paper towel between slices.

Time:

active time— 30 minutes

total time (includes cooling) — 2 hours

Be sure to check out what everyone else made for the party! I really wish it was more than just virtual because I want a plate of everything! These bloggers really know how to throw a party—YUM!

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