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Posted on Feb 4, 2016 | 0 comments

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars {and 2 anniversaries!}

Happy one month to the blog! If you haven’t been here since the beginning, go and check out my first recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies  and stay tuned because February is looking like a sweet month!

Now for one of my favorite anniversaries. Five years ago today, I was talking to my boyfriend as I drove home from work on a Friday night. When I opened the door to my apartment, there he was!  He’d flown from Pennsylvania to South Carolina to surprise me and was all dressed up and standing in the middle of my living room. He asked me to marry him…and I said yes! The last five years have been an adventure unlike anything I could have imagined. We’ve had highs and lows, but there isn’t anyone else I’d rather be going on this adventure with.
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See those crazy kids, they were so young. Ok, now on to the delicious part of this post. The official name for these bars would probably be something like: Browned Butter Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, but that’s just a mouthful. So we’re going to call them Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

I was incredibly late to the salted caramel party. When I made these for the first time last year, Tim asked me to make them again before we’d even finished the first pan! These bars have a soft cookie that’s loaded with chocolate chips and a ribbon of smooth caramel running through them with a sprinkling of coarse salt on top. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty. The smell in your kitchen while they are baking is going to make you want to eat them as soon as they come out of the oven, but you need to wait. The magic happens when they setup. In the instructions I note that you need to line your pan with parchment paper. You can sub the parchment paper with foil, but either way make sure you also spray it with non-stick spray.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

The browned butter sets these bars over the top and adds another dimension to the flavor. I’ve tried these with homemade caramel and haven’t found one that works well. The caramel bits are the easiest to use, but caramel squares work just fine. I found that the Brachs caramels are a little softer, so I reduced the cream to 2 tablespoons.

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons browned butter, cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
11 ounces caramel bits (or 11 ounces caramel squares, unwrapped)
3 tablespoons heavy cream (can sub milk)
sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place cubed butter into a medium skillet and melt over medium heat. Stirring until browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.
  3. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by lining with parchment paper and then spraying with non-stick spray.
  4. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until combined. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  5. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix). Fold chocolate chips into the dough.
  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and cream, and microwave for thirty second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  7. Spread half of the cookie mixture in the prepared pan, pushing with your hands to form an even layer. You can use plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Pour the melted caramel over the top and spread to cover. Sprinkle with sea salt. Top with remaining cookie dough. (I found it easiest to put golf ball sized pieces of the cookie dough in between plastic wrap or parchment paper and smush it with my hands into an even layer, then transfer it to the baking pan.) Sprinkle the top with more sea salt.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe is slightly adapted from The Baker Upstairs

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