Dan: It can get a little lonely around here in cyberspace. Thankfully in real life I’m surrounded by talented and wonderful people. Baking Adventures already saw me collaborating with a couple of very fashionable friends. So I thought, why not invite more of my friends on Basic Bakes? To start off what I hope will be a long-lived series of guest posts is one of my best friends Yonghuay, better known online and in the blogosphere as Emo.da:ns. She’s an amazingly creative person, so it’s no big surprise that she bakes like a fiend!
My love of salted caramel was sparked off by Azabu Sabo’s sea salt caramel ice cream. Since then, I would eat anything that has salted caramel 😛
Of course with baking, I wanted to try salted caramel flavours too, hence these cookie bars.
Previously, I made a salted caramel apple tart with Dan, which turned out ok, but not great. Then, I found this recipe on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures that combined salted caramel and chocolate, both my favourite things! 😀
If you are a fan of salted caramel, you must try this recipe. Even if you are not a fan, try it anyway and you’ll be hooked!
For the salted caramel sauce:
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tsp sea salt (I used Pagoda sea salt.)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
Makes twice as much needed for the cookie bars. You can refrigerate the remainder and use it within 2 days. Either bake another batch of cookie bars, or just put it on vanilla ice cream 🙂
For the cookie bars:
- 270g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 200g light brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 210g semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tbsp salted caramel sauce
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
Fills 1 8-inch square pan.
Step 1: To make the caramel sauce, add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is amber colour. Turn off the heat and slowly add the cream and salt. Be careful not to burn yourself here because the hot mixture bubbles up when you add the cream. Stir until smooth and put it aside to cool. It should look something like this:
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 160°C (325 °F). Line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper.
Step 3: In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter, sugars, egg, egg yolk and vanilla essence.
Step 4: Add the wet mixture to the dry one and fold until just combined. Add chocolate chips and fold those in as well.
Step 5: Put half of the cookie dough into the pan and using your fingertips spread it out into an even layer. Add the caramel sauce over the cookie dough layer.
Step 6: Using a spoon or a dish, scoop out small balls of the remaining batter and place them gently on top of the caramel layer. Press down with your fingertips to distribute the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with sea salt and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.
When I first made these cookie bars, I burnt the caramel. I remember the air smelt toxic from the scorched caramel. The second time round I was more cautious and managed to get a nice amber-coloured caramel.
A dance-choreographer friend of mine ate a “trial” version of these cookie bars and liked them very much, enough to order a bunch from me as presents for the dancers in his piece. It was the first time someone paid for my baking!
Emo.da:ns (aka Yonghuay) is currently a freelance production stage manager in the arts industry. On the side, she loves to bake to make people around her happy. She feels a sense of accomplishment whenever friends and strangers smile after trying her baked goodies. She also loves to dance and make crafts, and is currently looking into studying stage-lighting design. Be sure to check out her blog to see what else is going on in her creative life!