Sunday, April 1, 2012

Caramel Crunch Bar

Having one of the those sweet tooth and don't know what to do about it? Give these caramel crunch bars a try, for they are sure to satisfy the "sweet" tooth in you. This baking concoction is a essentially a shortbread like cookie crust with espresso, brown sugar, and cinnamon to create a caramel flavored base. It is topped with chocolate and toffee bits. The yummy toffee bits enhance the caramel flavor of the cookie and makes this cookie unique and delicious. Do not be deceived by its name for there is no actual caramel in the recipe, just a caramel flavor.

As you can tell, I have been having a cookie bar fad as of late but they are simple and easy, especially if you're making them for an event. Recently, I have been making things for work colleagues and friends and because I have a busy schedule, cookie bars are great go-to recipes. Also, there are so many variations of the cookie bar that no one recipe will seem repetitive.

One thing I loved about the recipe was adding the chocolate layer because the recipe calls for doing so after the cookie has baked in the oven. I simply topped the cookie with the chocolate chips, put the cookie back in the oven for 2 minutes, and took it out again to spread the melted chocolate with an offset spatula. It was super easy and no fuss whatsoever! However, if I had to make one adjustment, I would use dark chocolate chips as opposed to semisweet because the cookie is already sweet so the semisweet chocolate added another layer of sweetness. It was too much sweetness for me but if you do not mind an extra sweetness, feel free to use semisweet or milk chocolate. 

I really love this recipe! These caramel crunch bars are tasty, delicious, and found a home in my recipe book!

Caramel Crunch Bars
compliments of Dorie Greenspan Baking Cookbook

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate

6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate
3/4 cup toffee bits

1. Preheat oven 375 F. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray cooking oil on foil.
2. Beat butter in a mixer until smooth (~3 minutes).
3. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and creamy (~3 minutes).
4. Beat in vanilla.
5. In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, espresso powder, salt, and cinnamon.
6. Add flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate.
7. Dough will be heavy and sticky. Spread dough evenly in 9x13 pan.
8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cookie is very bubbly. Turn off oven.
9. Scatter the 6 ounces of chocolate chips evenly across cookie. Place cookie back into oven until chocolate has melted (~2-3 minutes.
10. Spread chocolate evenly with offset spatula. Sprinkle with toffee bits.
 11. Cool and cut into bars.

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