Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tutor with Tracey's Culinary Adventures

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars


Each Tuesday I ask a friend to be my tutor for a day. I select one of their original recipes, I follow my friend's recipe instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I sample the results - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



I love bloggers who make cooking and baking look easy. A little of this, a little of that, a quick mix and stir and presto! Deliciousness in a jiffy. That's how I feel every time I visit Tracey's blog. She manages to make even complex treats seem manageable and easy. Reading her blog encourages me to believe - "Oh yes I can!"

So I finally worked up the courage to ask Tracey to be my tutor. She's been featured so many times in the Food Fetish Friday series, now the toughest part each week is deciding which of her bewitching dishes to feature! After drooling over so many confidence-inspiring goodies, I'm happy to at last be sampling the real deal...

So please give a big welcome to Tracey - Welcome, Tracey! And thank you so much for being my tutor!



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Tracey Wilhelmsen is the author of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, where she shares a wide variety of sweet treats and savory dishes in a way that’s fun and approachable. She loves chocolate, snow, the Insanity workout program, and date nights with her husband.

Featured Recipe: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


More About Today's Tutor
  1. Before I began blogging full time, I was a corporate attorney in Boston.
     
  2. When I started my blog I had almost no experience in the kitchen. I remember one of the first recipes I made called for a clove of garlic and I had to call a family member and ask what that was – safe to say there was a steep learning curve for me in the beginning!
     
  3. I love breakfast for dinner! Whether it’s something warm and comforting like a tall stack of pancakes or sausage gravy and biscuits or even just a bowl of cereal, I can’t get enough!
     
  4. I’m obsessed with Boston sports teams, especially hockey. I never miss a Bruins game if I can help it!
     
  5. With the exception of three years that I spent in Nashville, Tennessee while attending law school, I’ve lived in New England my entire life. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to live anywhere else, but I absolutely love traveling to visit other places. My favorite vacations have been to Norway and Hawaii.



How to Make: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
For a printable recipe and complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

Cane Syrup
For the caramel sauce, Tracey uses 2 Tablespoons of light corn syrup. Since I didn't have any corn syrup in my pantry, I used golden cane sugar syrup.

Sugar, Cane Syrup and Water Combined in Pan
Add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons corn or cane syrup and 1/4 cup water to a medium sauce pan.

Stirring Syrup
Over medium-high heat, gently stir to combine the ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Syrup Boiling
Allow the sauce to come to a frothing boil, stirring gently occasionally.

Caramel Syrup Darkened to Amber
Continue to cook the sauce until it reaches a deep amber color (or reaches 350F by a candy thermometer). Stir gently occasionally.

Adding Cream to Caramel Sauce
Off the heat, slowly add 1/2 cup heavy cream to the syrup. Watch out for splashes!

Caramel Sauce Bubbling Up After Adding Cream
After adding the cream, gently stir to make a smooth sauce.

Fleur de Sel Salt Added to Caramel Sauce
After the cream is fully incorporated, add 1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel salt (or another mild finishing salt).

1/4 Cup Sour Cream
You will need 1/4 cup sour cream.

Sour Cream Added to Caramel Sauce
Stir the sour cream into the sauce until incorporated and smooth. Allow the sauce to cool while you prepare the cookie dough.

Dry Ingredients Whisked Together
In a medium sized bowl, combine 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk to combine. (I actually messed up and used 1/2 teaspoon baking powder but fortunately it didn't seem to adversely affect the bars).

12 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Melt 12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Melted Butter and Sugar Combined
To the melted butter, whisk in 1 cup light brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Thoroughly combine.

Egg and Egg Yolk and Vanilla Added to Sugar and Butter
To the butter and sugar mixture, add 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk and 2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

Folding Wet and Dry Ingredients Together
Fold the dry and wet ingredients together to form a thick cookie dough.

Bag of Chocolate Chips
Measure 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey's).

Folding in Chocolate Chips
Fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

Cookie Batter
The dough is quite thick so it takes a little time to evenly distribute the chips.

Square Pan Lined with Foil
Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. I used a Corning Ware pan so this increased my bake time by about 10 minutes.

Half of Cookie Dough Pressed into Lined Pan
Press half the cookie dough into the lined pan with your fingers.

6 Tablespoons Caramel Sauce Over Cookie Dough
Add 6 Tablespoons of caramel sauce in an even layer over the dough, leaving some room at the edges.

Remaining Cookie Dough Added Over Caramel Layer
Scoop the remaining cookie dough over top of the caramel using a small ice cream scoop or spoon.

Cookie Dough Pressed into Layer Over Caramel
Press out the dough gently with your fingers to cover the caramel and sprinkle with a little finishing salt (Fleur de Sel recommended). Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes at 325F. I needed to bake mine at least 50 minutes due to the slow-heating Corning Ware pan but I ended up baking the bars closer to 60 because I was nervous about the bars being done.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars
Allow the bars to cool in the pan to room temperature before turning out, removing the foil and cutting into bars.


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • If you decide to use golden cane syrup instead of corn syrup (as I did), be aware that the syrup does affect the flavor of the caramel sauce. It's a distinctive, almost nutty flavor - delicious, but not always expected with caramel. And since you will have a lot of caramel sauce remaining after making the bars, I don't want there to be any surprises...
     
  • These bars are delicious the first and second day. Tracey said her's were a bit gooey the first day so I must have over-baked mine! But even when they lose some of their moistness, these bars are still so addictive. My favorite part are the pieces from along the edges of the pan - the crustiness from the baked caramel is amazing!
     
  • I'm tempted to try adding an extra 2 or 3 Tablespoons of caramel sauce the next time I bake these - because the caramel is just so delicious and I wouldn't mind more of it. I'm a little nervous that it might make the bars a bit too gooey, but I'm willing to risk it...
     
  • Besides making the caramel sauce (which is just about being watchful), there's nothing complex or tricky about this recipe. Just mix, spread and bake. The toughest part might be waiting for the bars to cool - they do take a few hours to cool completely, so plan ahead!

6 comments:

  1. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)November 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    AHHH I love Tracey! How cool that you got her to be a "tutor"! I fell in love with these sinful bars the first time I saw em and nothing has changed! MMMM!

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  2. Tracey was an awesome tutor and these bars are every bit as delicious as they look. I'm so glad she recommended I give them a go!

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  3. Wow! Great recipe with amazing photos! Love the step by step illustrations! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Dan - the bars were delicious and Tracey was a marvelous tutor!

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  5. A person that had to ask what a clove of garlic is came up with this? WOW! I'm impressed! Very nice to meet you Tracy and Mark, great selection of a recipe to do a tutorial with. These cookie bars look awesome and sound even better! I grew up using cane syrup, but I've never made a caramel sauce with it. Yes, the taste would be non-traditional, but I bet it's awesome! Great post!

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  6. Gosh, Tracy has come a long way from not knowing what a clove of garlic is! This is a wonderful recipe. I love caramel, I love chocolate - need I say more? ;-) Good stuff - thanks.

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