I think I jinxed myself last week when I said I would be getting back into a normal routine. I came down with a nasty stomach bug on Tuesday complete with a 102 fever, which pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the week. You know it’s bad when even I don’t have an appetite, so all of the healthy cooking I planned to do went out the window in favor of ginger ale and saltines. Boohoo. Thankfully, I started to feel better just in time to try these Salted Caramel Cookie Bars that Elana made for our friend Lauren’s going away party on Thursday.
Tollhouse Bars (a.k.a. chocolate chip cookie bars) are a regular favorite in my family, but this salted caramel version was like Tollhouse Bars on speed. Salty, gooey, chocolately. Purely amazing.
Sadly, Lauren’s going away party wasn’t the only farewell party I’ve been to of late (3 in the past week!). However, my friend and former Edel-buddy Genevieve’s send-off on Saturday made for the perfect opportunity to recreate these delicious treats.
Per Elana’s recommendation, I reduced the amount of caramel and chocolate chips (I know, sounds crazy right?!), BUT these were a HUGE hit and so easy to make, they might just replace my family’s go-to Tollhouse Bars.
Though it’s sad to see friends leave New York and move on to new adventures, there’s nothing like sharing a little sweetness to counteract the bitterness of it all.
Salted Caramel Cookie Bars adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
makes 16 bars
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
5 oz soft caramel squares, unwrapped
1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 11×8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda together. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the sugars and melted butter together until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients in batches, so everything incorporates evenly. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Add the caramel squares and heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stopping every 20 seconds to stir. The caramel should be melted and smooth when finished. (This could take less or more time depending on your microwave).
5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half the dough into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the melted caramel over the 1st layer. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Gently press remaining half of cookie dough on top of the caramel. Smooth with a spatula and sprinkle with additional sea salt.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Let cool several minutes before cutting into 16 squares.