Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars with Sea Salt

I have my issues with Martha Stewart recipes. Their "yield" is always a quarter of what it says or else her cookies are the size of dimes. The recipes are not all tested, which causes me to be very cautious of falling into her trap of making recipes that display gorgeous, tempting photographs. Some of her ingredients are pretty much ridiculous for the average cook. "Only the finest handmade chocolate from a village in Switzerland"... (OK I made that up, but it's pretty much that) Really? And lastly, I usually have to tweak the recipes with the thought in mind: "It's OK Martha, your intentions were good". Which brings me to my point. She has great ideas for recipes, but they don't usually come out as she says they should, unless you know where to add and subtract on your own. With that said this recipe is out of this world! It's one of those that I will only make once a year, because if I make a batch, I will eat it alone... in a dark that my husband won't see me. Too much?

This recipe actually does make the amount that it says it will. And it's actually one of the few that I didn't have to fix at all. Which is why I am posting it. I wont have to take responsibility if something goes wrong in your kitchen.

What I love about these bars is that their crust is so delicate and crumbly and which grounds the ultra sweetness of the chocolate caramel on top. But the best part is the crunchy sea salt that swirls around your taste buds to give your mouth an incredible sweet/salty experience.

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars with Sea Salt
Makes 16 bars.

For the Chocolate Caramel
  • 4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 10 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined. (The mixture is going to be extremely crumbly and you are going to wonder if there is enough fat in it. DO NOT adjust anything.)
  2. Press dough evenly into pan, (this part takes some work. Since its so crumbly you have to play around with it in the pan to get it to reach all the edges and stay together tightly) and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  3. Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. (It took longer than 10 minutes for me, so don't panic) Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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