Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

(Photo from Two Peas and Their Pod)

I can't believe I have returned home after completing my sophomore year at UNC Chapel Hill. It's surreal to think that I am halfway done with college - high school feels like it was just yesterday! I am enjoying all the comforts of home, especially the kitchen! I have been so busy since I have been back, but have finally had a chance to do some baking.

My boyfriend, Lee, who is also from Charlotte will be living in Chapel Hill for the summer and working in the "real world" in Raleigh. I am so proud of him for getting such a great internship! As a parting gift for the summer I thought it was only appropriate to send him off with some baked goods. It's become a habit of mine to fill him up on sweets, so I'm trying not to let the distance between us affect that!

After combing through the nearly 300 recipes I have saved on my Pinterest boards, I came across these delicious looking cookie bars. Honestly, does it get any better than the sweet and salty combo of chocolate and caramel?? Well, maybe chocolate and peanut butter, but we'll save that for another day.

These bars were truly delicious. While I did make them for Lee, I kept quite a few for my family and we devoured them immediately. My dad claimed these bars were the best dessert he'd had in years, and he even ranked them higher than our family favorite "Oatmeal Caramelitas." They are the perfect spring treat alongside a cool glass of milk.

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons 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 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 10 ounces soft caramel candy squares, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking pan (which is an 11x7 pan - I ended up using 13x9 for thinner bars) with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on High until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
  6. Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.

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