Possibly the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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Possibly the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Okay, we are a sucker for salted caramels.  That crazy juxtaposition of sweet, chewy caramel and savory sea salt has become an American sensation and one we love to indulge in as regularly as possible.  We credit Fran Bigelow with taking the savory/sweet trend into confectionary bliss.   A regular offering for years in France, salted caramel made its way into high-end food magazines and specialty food shows in early 2003.  Fran’s Chocolates, a Seattle company that makes the caramels favored by President Obama, won the top award from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade in 2003. The next year, Gourmet magazine published a fleur de sel caramel recipe. And now even Wal Mart sells a truffle collection featuring a salted caramel ganache.

This recipe combines a delicious chocolate chip cookie bar with a filling of freshly made salted caramel.  Don’t panic if the bars come out of the oven gooey, just let them cool before cutting.  The caramel will firm up and you will have an amazing taste experience at hand.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Ingredients

Cookie

2-1/8 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

10 ounces caramels (see recipe below)

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 teaspoons (approximately) sea salt for sprinkling over caramel and bars

Caramel

2 cups white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup evaporated milk

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup butter

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease a 12×15 inch pan.

In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250°F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat.

Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the Carmel into small squares and wrap them in wax paper for storage.

Makes 4-5 dozen caramels.

Directions

Cookies

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch square pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes. OR you can do this step on your stove top: melt caramels and heavy cream in a medium-sized pot or saucepan, stirring until melted.

Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan. Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving some empty space around the edges. Sprinkle the caramel with half the sea salt. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with the rest of the sea salt.

Bake the cookie bars for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.

Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. DO NOT TRY TO CUT BEFORE THEY’RE COOL, it will turn into a huge gooey mess. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield 24 cookie bars

photo courtesy of  beachbakeaholic.blogspot.com

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