Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

Several of you have asked me about my son’s car that was stolen twice in 3 days from two different San Francisco locations. Let me give you a little history. The Acura was 20 years old and had 150,000 miles on it. I’m not sure who would want the car. The ignition could be started with a dime and if you popped the door with your fist, it would unlock! The shocks died a long time ago. The leather seats and dashboard resembled crocodile skin. Funny, the policeman who found the car was shocked that it hadn’t been stolen before!

When the police found the car the second time it was stolen, someone had spent the night in it. So, what do you do think my son did? Sold the car on Craig’s list of course! Can you believe his phone rang off the wall (or should I say, in his pocket) with people wanting to buy this car? Crazy, huh! He even informed them how many times it had been stolen and that it had been used as a hotel for a night.  Oh, and just in case you were wondering, he sold it complete with all the trash and clothes from whoever slept in it! Now that’s a deal!

I love chocolate chip bars but always thought they were missing something. A salted caramel layer in the middle makes them irresistible!

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped (I use Kraft)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars.

 Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place a 9 X 9 inch metal baking dish on the kitchen counter. Cut two pieces of parchment paper the width of the pan. Cut each piece long enough to leave an overhang to use later as handles for easy removal. Place paper in in opposite directions so the bottom and all 4 sides are covered (It will look like a plus sign).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, with a mixer, add melted butter and both sugars. Mix on low speed until combined. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips, mixing briefly. Divide dough in two equal portions. Place half in prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Reserve the other half.

Place caramels and heavy cream in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave, on high, for about 2 minutes or until caramels are melted. Stop and stir every 20 seconds so caramels don’t burn. Stir until caramel and cream are combined and smooth. Pour hot caramel over dough in pan. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Spoon remaining half of cookie dough by tablespoons over caramel. Spread dough with a spatula until caramel is completely covered.

Bake 30 minutes or until bars are light golden brown on top and the edges start to pull away from the pan (the bars won’t look done in the middle but they will set up as they cool). Remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan with Parchment paper handles. Cut into 12 squares and serve. Makes 12 bars. Enjoy, friends!

Published in The News and Neighbor on March 16, 2022.

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