Christmas Cookies: Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars


There are not many cookies I make which I am tempted to eat. I know it is weird that I would spend all this time making Christmas cookies and not really eat any of them but there is something magical to me about making cookies at Christmas. I almost feel like I could never make enough.

Now back to these cookies...like I said there are very few cookies I am tempted to eat but this was one of them. When the chocolate caramel was coming off the stove top all warm and gooey I couldn't resist! They are VERY rich so I suggest cutting them small. I cut them much smaller than the picture I was going from. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart Magazine but I don't remember which issue.

For the Crust
4 1/2 Ounces (9 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Table Salt

For the Chocolate Caramel
10 1/2 Ounces Milk Chocolate, Chopped (2 Cups)
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
3 Ounces (6 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt
1 Tablesppon Sea Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides: butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.

2. Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

3. Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pasty brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt (Mine looked really weird at this point because the butter and cream were so cold the sugar mixture froze in place. I didn't think it would work but I continued anyway and it turned out beautifully). Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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