Right away, the name of these bars should have caught your attention. Anything salted, involving chocolate OR caramel is something I want to dive right into. And I knew these bars were going to be great, but I didn't know they were going to be so great that I couldn't even take pictures because I was so busy stuffing one after the other in my mouth. True story.
This recipe comes to you today from Dorie Greenspan's new book Dorie's Cookies, which comes out in October. Dorie has teamed up with OXO this year, one of my favorite brands, for their annual blogger campaign in support of Cookies for Kids Cancer. For this blog post and every other blog post dedicated to the campaign, OXO will donate $100 to Cookies for Kids Cancer.
I love participating in their campaign every year because it's for such a great cause, PLUS who doesn't love new OXO products? I would honestly buy their entire warehouse if I could. To whip up these bars, OXO sent me their illuminating hand mixer which I am head over heels about. Not only does it light up as the name indicates, but the steadily increasing levels ensure that your ingredients aren't splashing everywhere. Also, it has a flat base which allows me to set it down in between adding ingredients, and a clip to attach the beaters to the mixer for an upright storage.
They also sent me 2 and 3 quart glass baking pans that come with lids, which I know for sure I will make use of. Almost everything I bake or cook ends up in a pan. The lids are an awesome protective feature and what I especially love is that the glass can withstand extreme temperature changes.
Speaking of temperature, I was a little worried about making the salted chocolate caramel that goes on top of these bars. I've heard too many horror stories about burning caramel and even the instructions specifically said that adding heavy cream would make the caramel roil. Thankfully, I did not get splashed or burned and I'm finally not scared to make my own caramel. It's easier than it looks/sounds!
And these bars were certainly worth it. Another milestone I accomplished is getting myself to eat pecans because I actually don't like nuts at all. BUT, the crunch was necessary for these tender, decadent bars.
So, definitely make these bars and definitely get your hands on these OXO products. They will make your baking experiences a lot more easier!
Salted Chocolate Caramel BarsYield: 21 bars
Ingredients:For the shortbread base:
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup (67 grams) sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the caramel topping:
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature (or slightly warmed in a microwave)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce; 28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and very soft
1⁄4 teaspoon fleur de sel or a good-size pinch of fine sea salt
2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
About 1⁄2 cup (60 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line an 8x8 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and sea salt until creamy and smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients, beating on low speed, until well-combined and a soft dough forms.
Press the dough evenly onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 21-23 minutes.
Remove from oven when done and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely, start preparing your caramel topping.
Add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to simmer, until mixture starts to turn a amber color. Swirl the pan around a couple of times to ensure the caramel is cooking evenly. Once it turns a medium amber color, lower the heat, and pour in the heavy cream. Then add the butter and salt. Remove pan from the heat and add in chopped chocolate. Use a silicone spatula to incorporate it into the caramel.
Pour the hot caramel over the bars and then top with chopped pecans. Let the caramel set at room temperature, then cut and serve.