Caramel Crunch Bars

I looooove….. food days at work.  It gives me an excuse to try a new recipe for a sinful treat like this one. I have tagged so many recipes from Dorie’s book Baking: From my Home to Yours that I knew that this one was next in line. It starts with a layer of cookie with delicious espresso hint, then covered with a layer of melted bittersweet chocolate. To top it off; add chopped Heath toffee bits which adds a contrast of crunchy, salty, and sweetness all into one.  Do I need to say more? If you are a caramel or chocolate lover, give these a try. They were so addictive that you may need to cut them up into smaller pieces that the book recommended. Happy eating!

Adapted from Baking: From my Home to Yours

Ingredients
For the base:
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. instant espresso powder or finely ground instant coffee
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 oz. bittersweet or premium milk chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping:
6 oz. bittersweet or premium milk chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup Heath toffee bits

Directions
Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9×13 inch baking pan, line the pan with foil and butter the foil. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the base:
Whisk together the flour, coffee, salt and cinnamon.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another three minutes or until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla and turn off the mixer.

Add all the dry ingredients, cover the stand mixer with a kitchen towel (so you and your kitchen don’t get showered in flour) and pulse the mixer on and off at low speed about 5 times- at which point a peek at the bowl should reveal that it’s safe to turn the mixer to low and mix, uncovered, just until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated.

Add the chopped chocolate and mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. If the chocolate isn’t evenly mixed, finish the job by hand with a spatula. You’ll have a very heavy, very sticky dough. Scrape the dough into the buttered pan and, with the spatula and your fingertips, cajole it into a thin, even layer.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the base is bubbly – so bubbly that you can almost hear it percolating – and puckery. It will look as though it is struggling to pull away from the side of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and turn off the oven.

To make the topping:
Scatter the chocolate evenly over the top of the hot base and pop the pan back into the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate is soft.. Remove from oven and immediately spread chocolate over bars, using offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and press them down lightly with your fingertips. Place the baking pan on a rack to cool to room temperature.

If, by the time the bars are cool, the chocolate has not set, refrigerate them briefly to firm the chocolate.

Carefully lift out of the pan, using foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. Trim the edges if they seem a bit thick. Cut about 54 bars, each about 2 inches by 1 inch, taking care not to cut through the foil.

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4 Responses to Caramel Crunch Bars

  1. I have so many recipes tagged in that book too! Everything looks so yummy. Good to know that these bars are delicious.

  2. h2babe says:

    I agree!! They were much better than what I had anticipated!! 🙂

  3. I am all over these for the next dessert occasion! If you cut them in smaller pieces, you get to eat more, right?

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