Caramel Coco-Nutty Bars


Hey there, blog. It’s been a while, but I won’t dwell on that. Instead, I’ll talk about cookies that come in bar form, because cookies that come in bar form are best. 

These cookies have layers, like onions and ogres, except all of the layers are sweet and delicious and melt together in your mouth. You don’t have to learn to love these cookies or peel away at the outer layers to get to the good stuff. All you have to do is make them, dip them in chocolate, double-dip them in milk, and consume. 

I made half with coconut (for me) and half with almonds (for my husband). You can make them with all coconut, or with any other toasted nut of your choosing! 

Caramel Coco-Nutty Bars
Caramel Coco-Nutty Bars


Caramel Coco-Nutty Bars

3 cups coconut flakes OR 3 cups chopped nuts OR 1 1/2 cups each

6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cookie base:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel:
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature and cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toast the filling:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Spread the coconut and almonds on an even layer on the baking sheet (do this in two batches if you’re using both). Toast, tossing every 4 minutes until they begin to turn golden, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Make the cookie base:
1. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Allow the parchment to hang over two sides for easy removal. Lightly spray the parchment paper as well.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. 
3. Beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and flour mixture and beat until just combined.
4. With lightly floured hands, press the dough into the prepared baking pan. Do not press up the sides. Prick the top of the dough with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Set aside on a wire rack to cool. 

Make the caramel:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine corn syrup, both sugars, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir gently (try not to splash up the sides of the pan). Set the saucepan over low heat and continue to stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Using a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and, without stirring, wait for the temperature to reach 240 to 245 degrees (about 7 minutes). Keep an eye on the temperature – you don’t want the sugar mixture to exceed 250 degrees. 
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, gently stir together the cream and sweetened condensed milk until warmed. Do not bring to a boil. 
3. Once the sugar mixture turns amber and reaches 240 to 245 degrees, remove from heat and stir in the cubed butter and the warm cream mixture (be careful – it might bubble up during this step). Return the pan to the stove and bring the caramel mixture back to 245 to 250 degrees over medium heat. 
4. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the vanilla, and fold in your filling ingredients. If you are using both coconut and nuts, fold in 1 cup of each in separate bowls. If you are using only one filling ingredient, fold 2 cups of filling into the caramel mixture. 
5. Working quickly, spread the caramel filling into an even layer using an offset spatula. The caramel will have a thick consistency, and you will be able to spread coconut mixture on one side of the pan, and almond mixture on the other side if desired. Sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut or toasted almond over the caramel, and press into the caramel slightly. Let cool to room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate 1 hour (you can shorten wait time by placing the cooled bars in the freezer). 

Assemble the bars:
1. Use a knife to loosen the chilled bars from the sides of the pan, and remove from the pan using your parchment overhang. Cut the bars into twenty-four pieces using a sharp, greased knife. 
2. Melt both chocolates together using the bowl of a double boiler over medium heat or in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time. 
3. Dip half of each bar in the melted chocolate, scrape off the excess chocolate, and allow the chocolate to set at room temperature or in the refrigerator. 
4. Enjoy! The bars can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for four days. 

Recipe adapted from here


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