Friday, January 18, 2013

Browned Butter Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

My feelings about dessert bars and anything with browned butter are definitely not a mystery.  I feel a deep-down love for both of these things.  I feel that bars are the best way to enjoy all the goodness of cookies, without the tedious tasks of scooping, baking, rotating and cooling.  I also feel that browned butter most definitely makes ANYTHING better. 

These bars are a conglomoration of some of my favorite things; cookies, browned butter, chocolate, caramel and salt.  And it's another one of those sweet and savory combos that I'm so fond of.  When I saw this recipe I was instantly drawn in because of the brown butter, then when I continued to read the title it just kept getting better and better.  It was like I was reading a list of the things that make me so happy; it started great and got better and better with every word! 
These bars start with a browned butter cookie base.  Which honestly, I could stop right there and be one very happy girl.  But why stop there when it could get so much better?  To that delicious base are chocolate chips.  Part of the dough is then patted down in a pan, preparing itself to become a vessel for melted caramel.  Yum.  It's getting better, right?  The caramel gets a generous sprinkle of sea salt and then more cookie dough is dropped right there on top of all that deliciousness!  No, we're not done yet.  Then comes another dose of chocolate chips, Hershey's kisses and caramel candy.  Honestly, I could take a spoon and eat these bars as is...before they even go in the oven. 
But I practiced much self restraint, and put them in the oven and waited ever so patiently for them to come out of the oven.  After the baking process I couldn't wait any longer, yes, I cut a little piece immediately.  I HAD to try these.  Oh. My. Goodness.  These bars are amazing!  This are like the best chocolate chip cookie bar...times a gazillion!  A chocolate chip cookie, topped with caramel and salt, topped with more cookie dough, more chocolate and caramel. 

Whether you've had a bad day and need to indulge, need some baking therapy or just need something sweet, look no further.  These are the bars for you.    

Browned Butter Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
Ingredients:

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 Large egg
1 Large egg yolk
1 Tsp vanilla
2 1/8 Cups flour
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp baking soda
1 1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup chocolate chips
11 oz caramel bits (or candy caramels, unwrapped)
1/3 Cup caramel candy, cut in quarters
3 Tbsp milk
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1/4 Cup caramel filled Hershey's kisses

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper, spray and set aside.

Place butter in a 2 quart saucepan and place over low-medium heat. (Butter will begin to crackle and foam as it melts.) Once the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the butter around the pan as the butter cooks. Once the butter is brown remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Set aside.

Once the butter has cooled add brown sugar and granulaged sugar and beat on high to combine.  Add whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix to combine.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and set aside.

Place the caramel and milk in a microwave safe bowl, place in microwave and heat.  Heat the caramel and milk in 20 second increments, stirring between each interval.  Continue to heat until caramel is completely melted and "pourable".

Place 2/3 of the cookie dough mixture into the prepared pan, pressing firmly to distribute the dough evenly in the pan.  Pour the melted caramel over the cookie dough and sprinkle with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cookie dough evenly over the caramel.  Evenly scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the cookie dough, along with the chopped caramel candy and Hershey's kisses.

Place bars in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove bars from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, remove from pan and cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe source: adapted from Ciao Mama originally from Two Peas and Their Pod

2 comments:

justbakedbyme said...

Oh, I just discovered how much I love brown butter. Add it to caramel brownies? Well, that sounds amazing!

Lynsey said...

It really is one ofy favorite ingredients! It makes everything better!

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