Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Caramel Crunch Bars

I'm still playing catch up with the other Tuesdays with Dorie group members. I joined a couple of months ago, and every chance I get, I try a new recipe from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook. I have had the ingredients on hand to make these bar cookies since I got the cookbook, but I haven't had an occasion to make them. And I can't just bake things for no good reason, you see, because Hogatha will come out. You've met Hogatha. She's my always-hungry, never-satisfied alter ego. She loves baked goods. She can't practice self-control. She doesn't even know what it is. And she loves Caramel Crunch Bars, I've discovered! Before these, my top recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours was the Mango Bread. Before that, it was the Banana Cream Pie. But these quickly zoomed to the top of my "Oh my goodness, that is so good!" list. And one of the very best things about them is how darn easy they are to put together! You can find the recipe on page 112 of the cookbook (I didn't even have to look it up, because I've drooled over the picture so many times), or you can get the recipe here.
Look at the layers, would ya? YUM! A chocolatey shortbread crust (I have a very soft spot in my heart for shortbread), a silky smooth chocolate layer, and some Heath Toffee Bits sprinkled heavily on top. Caramel is noticeably absent from the ingredient list. I don't know why Dorie calls 'em Caramel Crunch Bars. I didn't really taste anything caramely. I did get the coffee taste that comes from the shortbread, for sure...and I loved it. And I got the chocolate...who couldn't?! And I got the toffee pieces, but they aren't really caramelly. They're tofee-ey! Who cares, though? This stuff is good! The recipe makes a 9x13-inch pan full. See?
Now, listen to this! Dorie says to cut these into 54 BARS! WHAT?! Please, Dorie. We Americans are gluttons! We don't want to be teased, especially with something like this. We want something substantial! If you got 15 or so pieces out of this, I'd say you'd have a portion I'd be happy with. And get this...Dorie said that these are great if you use them to make ice cream sandwiches! That's an idea I can get behind! However, I did refrigerate these bars overnight, and when I took them out the next day, you would have broken your teeth trying to eat them. I'm thinking her idea is perfect in theory, but maybe hazardous in practice. But I'd definitely give it a try, because these will be in my regular dessert rotation!

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