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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars With Salted Caramel

Chocolate chip cookie bars and salted caramel. Have you ever heard of anything so amazing?! Just the thought of anything with salted caramel is enough to send me into a foodie lovers tailspin. Mmmmmmm.... How did the world not know about salted caramel long ago? How did we get by? These days, it seems everywhere you look  there is a salted caramel treat on the menu. I have no problem with that! :-)

I went to the grocery store yesterday in the midst of everything that has been going on with the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. I knew I would be staying in this weekend to save gas, and also, I just wanted to stay off the road so I didn't create more traffic. Maybe you can relate to this, but I love to stay in and have good food. If there's a snow storm coming, I immediately think about what tasty foods I will be making. A big sporting event (can you say Super Bowl??), that's my perfect opportunity to throw a party and cook up a frenzy of delicious munchies. So, you can see where my logic was going with this one. My sweet tooth had spoken. If you have a few minutes to be in the kitchen, and you want a treat that is sweet, gooey, chewy, and just comforting, these cookie bars will change your life. Let's get cookin'.

What you will need:
-a 30oz package of chocolate chip cookie dough ( I use Pillsbury.)
-a bag of caramel squares or bits
-sea salt
-cooking spray

Read your cookie package and preheat the oven as directed. For me, it was 350. Take an 8x8 cooking dish and coat with your cooking spray. Open your cookie package and cut the dough in half so you have 2 equal pieces. Take your first chunk of dough and spread it out on the bottom of the dish. It's probably easier if you break it up and then push it down to cover the dish. It should look something like this:
Once that is complete, sprinkle your caramel pieces on top. You can find round caramel circles in a bag at most stores, (I found mine at WalMart) or you can just use regular caramel pieces and cut them in half. Do NOT use the caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle that you use on ice cream sundaes! That stuff is designed to stay like a sauce or a liquid, and it doesn't firm up. Your dessert will remain gooey and too soupy. The caramel needs to be able to shape up a little bit after it has been cooked. I'm not saying you can't drizzle a little extra on your slice well after it's done... Just FYI. ;-)
Cut your caramel pieces in half so they melt better.
Sprinkle about 2 tbsp sea salt on top of the cookie dough caramel concoction. 2 tbsp may seem like a lot to you, so you can start small and then add more. It depends on how much you want the salt to come through. It will look something like this:
This is without the sea salt so far, but you get the picture. :-)
Take your last chunk of cookie dough and layer it on top of this mixture. Again, it's probably easiest if you break it up and then push it down. This will be your end result:
YUM!!! And it's not even cooked yet!
You will need to cook this a bit longer than regular cookies because we piled so much on. Smaller batches of cookies, when they're spread out, will cook faster. You should cook this about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Just watch your stove because they are all different, and who would want to burn this?? When it comes out of the oven it will be VERY soft, and it will need a few hours to firm up. The consistency out of the oven is almost soupy, so don't be alarmed. The more the cookie firms up, and there's a chance for the caramel to set up, the better these will be. Trust me! Hopefully you can wait that long. I barely can. Here is the finished product:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Salted Caramel running all through it!  The ultimate sweet treat!
The end of the cookie will be a bit crunchy, the center is so chewy, and the caramel is gooey but holds its texture. I can't describe these in enough detail. You'll just have to try them for yourself. After a while you won't want to share them! And can you blame me?! :-)

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