New This Month

Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars

355

Deep, dark chocolate, rich caramel, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel atop a shortbread crust make a contemporary combination with timeless appeal. Martha made this recipe on Martha Bakes episode 405.

  • Yield: Makes 16

Photography: Mike Krautter

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

Ingredients

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 cup water
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Directions

  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 overhang. 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, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. 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.

Cook's Notes

Martha likes to secure the parchment to the pan with binder clips, so the parchment doesn’t fall into the cookie bars during chilling. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • jennilovelee
    23 JUN, 2015
    what's the best way to store this?? and for how long does it keep??
    Reply
  • Janelle
    14 DEC, 2013
    I am confused as to why everyone says this caramel doesn't work...If you follow in instructions stated it works PERFECT!! And delicious! When you add the cream and butter, it does clump into a big hard sugar ball, but then it states to put it back on the heat and bring to a boil...which it then melts back to a liquid and you have a perfect caramel! I think everyone just gave up after it clumped and didnt finish what the recipe actually said!
    Reply
  • MarthaRocks1213
    25 NOV, 2013
    Ready to make these scrumptious bars for a second time. They really do taste like twix bars. I did combine the milk and dark as another reviewer had suggested and agree this was a good choice. A great way to use up odds of gourmet chocolate bars! These are a must for a dinner party or a simple get together. My colleague at work loved them too.
    Reply
  • MS12137482
    21 SEP, 2013
    Like at twix bar, and so Rich
    Reply
  • AshEklund
    10 APR, 2013
    These bars are fantastic. A couple of things I would change next time: 1. Prick the shortbread before baking to prevent air bubbles. 2. Use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate to cut some of the sweetness from the caramel. I had no issues with the caramel as written in the recipe.
    Reply
  • Rachel Fowler
    16 DEC, 2012
    i had trouble with the caramel too, esp, as i live in Denver, and i imagine the high altitude has something to do it. (i have similar issues when i make creme caramel, but the caramel there requires a great deal of water, not like this). the water evaporated and i was left with a hard pile of sugar that didn't melt again. Advice welcome!
    Reply
  • loogiejane
    28 JUL, 2012
    This recipe is genius. I don't know what inspired me to make it mid-summer as they're much more "holiday" feeling but I'm glad I experimented to discover it worked. Previous posters gave good advice to NOT put water into the sugar. I found a youtube vid on how to carmelize sugar and it was so darn easy! I let the cookie bottom cool for about 15 minutes before pouring candy layer on= no sliding caramel. Best of out fridge but still great at room temp- just gooier. Sprinkled lots of salt-sublime
    Reply
  • simone96
    28 JAN, 2012
    Delicious! This process for making caramel is not easy. Mine never turned amber, even after cooking 30min. All I had was a mess. So, I listened to the prev reviews and made caramel w/out the water,super easy. I highly recommend watching a video on line as one of the other reviews says. i suggest: http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?p=how+to+caramelize+sugar Also, if you're using the standard 9X11 pan, you'll want to double the shortbread but one batch of chocolate caramel is enough.
    Reply
  • SSCB
    23 DEC, 2011
    I had trouble with the caramel ... tried it 3 times before I found a tip which recommended adding a 1/4 tsp lemon juice which helped keep it from crystallizing ... the bars are in the fridge and I hope the chocolate caramel topping does not slide off the cookie crust when I cut into them tomorrow
    Reply
  • cameragirl13
    1 DEC, 2011
    I made these last year as part of my Christmas cookie "gifts". They were far and away the surefire favorite of everyone! People are still talking about them and begging me to include them this year. Despite one review, this caramel never hardens as much as others and does need refrigeration. Follow the directions, but stir the sugar/water just until dissolved. Then don't stir again. Occasionally swirl the pan to get the color going. Use the pastry brush to clean the sides of the pan. Great
    Reply