Some nights you just need a cookie. I mean right now. Immediately. And that is why I am so happy that I recently discovered cookie bars. Because on those nights that you just need a cookie right away, you didn’t think ahead to soften butter to room temperature, nor do you have time to let dough chill. Enter the amazing cookie bar. Specifically a chocolate chip cookie bar with salted caramel sauce swirled inside and sprinkled with sea salt. Sounds complicated, right? It is not at all!! Especially if you have some caramel sauce leftover from making these brownies. Just melt some butter (no waiting for butter to soften in this recipe!) and mix it with sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and you are ready to go! There is no chilling this dough, just plop it right into the pan. Well there is one little extra step, but I promise it is worth the time because it involves caramel! Press half the dough into the pan and then pour caramel sauce all over it. Then you dollop the cookie dough in little scoops over the top (it looks so cute!) and lightly press it down. Sprinkle everything with some fleur de sel, and that’s it! In about 30 minutes, warm gooey cookie bars are ready for almost immediate consumption! Now I will say that the texture changes a lot as these sit. The bars firm up and become like actual cookies. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with sneaking a square (or two) of the warm bars when they are still doughy and gooey!
Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars
Recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
2 ⅛ cups (10 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 oz) light brown sugar
½ cup (3 ½ oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups chocolate chips
6 tablespoons salted caramel sauce (I used Trader Joe’s)
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars until combined. Add in the egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Put half of the dough into the prepared pan, pressing into an even layer. Warm the caramel sauce in the microwave until it is pour-able, and then pour it on the dough, leaving a little space around the edges. Using a small ice cream scoop, dollop the rest of the cookie dough over the caramel. Press down gently to distribute the dough. It is fine if the caramel layer isn’t completely covered. Sprinkle the top with fleur de sel. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the bars are golden brown and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Let the bars cool completely, then use the foil overhang to lift them out of the pan.