Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: A delectable blend of rich butter, sweet brown and granulated sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, a hint of salt, baking soda, all-purpose flour, semisweet chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, soft caramels, and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt.
Ah, the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars! Each bite takes me back to my grandma’s cozy kitchen, where the aroma of melting caramel and baking cookies was a staple. She used to say, “A good dessert can turn any day around,” and she was right. I remember the first time we baked these together. The kitchen was a mess, flour everywhere, and the laughter never-ending. These cookie bars became more than just a recipe; they became a memory of love, warmth, and the sweet simplicity of time spent with family. Every time I bake them now, it’s like a hug from the past, reminding me of those golden days.
Why You’ll Love Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
These Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are not just another sweet treat; they’re a heavenly fusion of flavors and textures. What sets them apart?
Firstly, the gooey caramel center, like a hidden treasure, surprises you with every bite.
Secondly, the combination of soft, chewy cookie and the crunch of sea salt flakes creates a delightful contrast.
And let’s not forget the semisweet chocolate chips, offering a rich depth that balances the sweetness of the caramel. These bars are a testament to the magic that happens when simple ingredients are combined with a little kitchen alchemy.
Embarking on the Journey of Baking Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars:
- Butter: The unsalted variety lets you control the saltiness, ensuring a perfect balance.
- Sugars: Light brown sugar brings a touch of molasses flavor, while granulated sugar adds sweetness and texture.
- Eggs: They bind the ingredients together, giving the bars structure and richness.
- Vanilla Extract: A dash of vanilla enhances all the other flavors.
- Salt and Baking Soda: Essential for flavor enhancement and leavening.
- Flour: All-purpose flour creates a tender but sturdy base.
- Chocolate Chips: Semisweet chips add pockets of chocolatey goodness.
- Condensed Milk and Caramels: The duo that forms the irresistible caramel center.
- Flaked Sea Salt: A sprinkle on top brings a burst of flavor and a gourmet touch.
Embark on the Baking Adventure:
- Setting the Stage: Preheat your oven and get your baking dish ready. This preparation ensures a smooth baking process.
- Creaming the Base: Mixing butter and sugars until fluffy is crucial. It’s the foundation of your cookie bars’ texture.
- Adding the Essentials: Eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda join the party, each playing a vital role in flavor and structure.
- The Floury Finale: Gently mixing in flour forms your dough, the canvas for your chocolate chips.
- Creating the Base: Pressing half the dough into the dish sets the stage for your caramel.
- Caramel Creation: Melting caramels with condensed milk – patience here rewards you with silky, smooth caramel.
- Layering and Baking: Dropping the remaining dough over caramel and baking until just set – precision here is key.
- The Finishing Touch: A sprinkle of sea salt and cooling time. Patience here is a virtue; it’s all about the perfect texture and flavor.
These Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are like little treasures, and storing them is easy. An airtight container at room temperature will keep them perfect for up to 3 days. No fridge necessary! The trick is to resist eating them all in one go. They might not last three days, not because they can’t, but because they’re just too tempting!
Variations and Substitutions
Customizing Your Cookie Bars:
- Butter Swap: If you’re out of unsalted butter, use salted and omit the additional salt.
- Sugar Variations: Dark brown sugar can replace light for a deeper molasses flavor.
- Egg-free?: Try a flax egg for a vegan alternative.
- Flour Options: For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free flour blend.
- Chocolate Tweaks: Mix it up with milk chocolate chips or even white chocolate.
- Caramel Alternatives: In a pinch, use a store-bought caramel sauce thickened with a bit of cornstarch.
- Salt Switch: No flaked sea salt? Coarse kosher salt can do the trick, just use a bit less.
Remember, baking is all about experimenting and having fun. These little tweaks can make the recipe uniquely yours!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup of light brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
- 10 ounces of soft caramels unwrapped
- 1 teaspoon of flaked sea salt
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by lining it with foil and applying a liberal coating of nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the light brown sugar and granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes in duration. Incorporate the eggs, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and baking soda, ensuring to mix thoroughly. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure even mixing.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the all-purpose flour. Continue to beat the mixture until combined, then fold in the semisweet chocolate chips.
- Press half of the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and unwrapped soft caramels. Place over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the caramels have fully melted and the mixture achieves a smooth, uniform consistency. Once ready, pour this caramel filling over the cookie dough layer in the baking dish.
- Take the remaining cookie dough and drop it in small, teaspoon-sized clumps over the caramel layer. Proceed to bake the bars in the preheated oven for a duration of 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is just set.
- Upon removing from the oven, immediately sprinkle the baked bars with flaked sea salt. Allow the bars to cool completely in the dish. Once cooled, use the edges of the foil to lift the entire dessert out of the pan for ease of cutting. For optimal storage, keep the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for a maximum of 3 days.