Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chunk Bars

As I was getting things made for my stepson's birthday party, I decided that Cake and Ice Cream were just not enough for this party. I had found another FABulous Bar recipe that just needed to be made. These are absolutely delicious.

Heaven. Chocolate, caramel, sea salt and a blondie. What more could a Cookie Monster ask for. But with name calling, he did not get any to take home.

These bars are not hard to make. I had homemade caramel sauce from one of my sisters, in the fridge. So that is how I cut some time on this recipe. I would not recommend some sub par caramel sauce just to save time. It would not do your Bars any favors. Make the sauce. I will next time.

The recipe stated that once the bars had cooled, to refrigerate them before cutting. It was SO Easy to cut these bars. I plated them and keep them at room temperature.

Salty Caramel and Chocolate Chunk Bars
adapted from

for the Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in six pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water

In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, lemon juice and water. Pat the sugar into the water as much as possible. Without stirring, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Occasionally, use the hanlde of the pan to gently swirl everything together and prevent caramel from cooking too fast in one spot. Cook until the caramel turns medium amber (about 8-10 minutes). Keep a close watch on the caramel as soon as the bubbles begin to change colour. When it turns medium amber, remove pan from heat, and slowly and carefully add the heavy cream. (it will sputter and hiss, step back) Keep stirring until the caramel smooths out. Gradually add the pieces of butter, about 2 bits at a time. Once the butter is added and melted into the caramel, whisk in vanilla extract.

Immediately pour the hot caramel into a medium heat proof bowl and set aside.

for the Bars
2 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) melted & cooled unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces chopped dark chocolate (or roughly 2 cups dark chocolate chips)
Caramel Sauce (see recipe above)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray or butter an 11x7 Pyrex dish
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the melted butter, and both sugars until well combined. About 5 minutes at medium speed. At this point, the mixture will look a bit greasy. Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition for one minute. Add vanilla and beat for one more minute.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until all flour is incorporated. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chunks until they are throughout the batter.
Press half of the batter into the pan. Try to make smooth as possible.  Pour the caramel sauce over the dough. Try to have a smooth layer of caramel sauce.
Drop chunks of remaining dough over the caramel sauce. Flatten with your hands, resembling little shingles. It will not look perfect, but they will bake up fabulous.
Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes, or until edges start to pull away from the pan. You want the bars a light golden brown. Remove pan from the oven and cool completely on a rack. Once the bars are room temperature, stick pan in the fridge for a few hours. This made the cutting process easy.

Heaven in a bar. OMG. Delicious.

These would also be great with a scoop of ice cream.

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