Sunday, November 1, 2009

Haute Halloween Hangover

I have no doubt that the last thing anyone wants to see on the day after Halloween is a recipe for another sweet treat. But rest assured, this in a different league than the individual-sized pre-packaged treats you have been smuggling all day from your children's plastic pumpkins. This is a sophisticated, gourmet recipe. One that uses the flawless combination of salty and sweet and just when you think it can't get any better, the salty flavor comes from one of the most coveted and elegant salts around, Fleur de Sel.

Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars
Martha Stewart Living November 2009

For the Crust:

4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Chocolate Caramel:

10 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 water
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides, butter parchment, excluding over-hang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.

2. Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

3. Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat (stirring only once to mix the two ingredients and letting it do the work on its own after the initial stir), washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming,

until amber, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add butter, cream and table salt (be very careful during this step as the caramel will bubble when you add these ingredients).

Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour mixture over crust.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges and cut into 16 bars using a sharp knife that has been sitting in a glass of hot water. Be sure to clean the knife in the hot water and remove the crust from the blade between cuts to ensure a smooth outer edge on the bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Kelsey said...

I have these marked in my Martha Stewart Living. I can't wait to try them!

kymmi said...

Yummmmm. I love the combo of chocolate and sea salt!! I'm considering making these and substituting dark chocolate (70%) and maybe cutting back a bit on the sugar? Not sure, but dark chocolate is my weakness!

Amy said...

They look going to have to bookmark this post!

Gala said...

I love anything chocolate-caramel-salt.

Caroline said...

They look awesome. The empty pan smelled great. Next time I'll be quicker and get to the treats BEFORE Greg!

oneordinaryday said...

Mmmm. These look incredibly delicious1

Dawn said...

love the caramel to crust ratio!!! yes

teresa said...

oh these are far better then all the junk in my kids halloween buckets. i love how pretty they are, delicious!

Peggy said...

these look great! awesome chocolate to crust ratio... lots of chocolate is always a plus!

Stephanie said...

These look great! After seeing these in MS Living I had already planned to make these for my Christmas baking. glad to know they turned out great.

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

Gorgeous! I'm definitely bookmarking these. They look incredible, and I love the combination of chocolate and caramel!

Julie said...

Please, I'm always up for sweets. These look just awesome :)

Anonymous said...

I made this recipe last week and had difficulty getting the sugar and water to turn amber. I may have used the wet brush too often, diluting the mixture - or maybe I didn't have the heat high enough. I cooked it for over 20 minutes, but it never "set up" like caramel. I ended up putting it over ice cream. Great flavor. I may try it again, now that I see how dark "amber" is. Thanks for the pictures.

Anonymous said...

i plan on making these soft is the chocolate-caramel part? I want to make them for H bake sale at his work...will they be ok?

Elizabeth said...


The chocolate caramel part gets pretty hard after being in the fridge for a while. I would say it is about the texture of a chewy caramel candy. I made these and brought them to work as well and they traveled well on the long car ride.

Lesley said...

These turned out so well that my very difficult to impress teen age daughter said "these are awesome!"

I've never made sugar/water caramel before, so the picture of what it should have looked like on the stove was a big help. Although I think I may have taken it off too soon, it didn't seem to matter. These were excellent and I encourage everyone to make them.

Again, thanks for the pictures on all the recipes, it makes things so much easier!

James said...

Just made the recipe last night, and they turned out pretty good. I think my caramel was kinda pushing the line between caramelizing and burning, but the slight bitter aftertaste could have been due to using extra dark chocolate.