Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownie Bars

What happens when you take your favorite chocolate cookie recipe, insert caramel and bake it as a bar? Magic! One of these days I will write about something that doesn't have sugar in it, but for now, I have to tell you about these Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownie Bars. I made them for a Labor Day cookout and am still swooning over them. They are rich, decadent, gooey and with two sticks of butter - Paula Deen approved. :)

Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownie Bars
Inspired by Mama Dip's Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar (this is important - much better with dark brown sugar)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups plain, 1 cup whole wheat)
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
20 Kraft caramel candies
2 tablespoons half and half
Sea Salt and Sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your favorite baking dish or pan. I used a 9 x 12 aluminum pan like this one. You can also use a 9 x 13 standard pan or glass baking dish, just note that the bars will be a bit thinner than these pictured.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until just mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, place caramels and half and half. Microwave in short intervals until melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Spread half the cookie dough in your prepared pan. Use a piece of wax paper or greased aluminum foil to help spread the dough evenly. Pour melted caramel over the cookie layer. Spread remaining batter on top of caramel. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and course sugar.

Place in oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are puffed and the sides begin to slightly pull away from the pan. Do not overbake (it's better gooey than dry)!

Cool on a wire rack and cut into squares. Enjoy!

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