Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

StreuselAs I sat eating half a box of Samoa Girl Scout cookies yesterday morning for breakfast, I was having trouble figuring out what to make for our chocolate theme this month.  Then it hit me!  I have always wanted to recreate the Samoa cookie, not just wrap it in chocolate dough like I did last year at this time!

Admittedly these bars are no Samoa cookie but frankly they are better because they are not as sweet.  Oh, trust me, their sweetness doesn’t stop me from eating TONS of them in one sitting but I do enjoy desserts that are a little less sweet.    These bars have some steps in which you need to let them bake or refrigerate.  I chose to go try Zumba while the chocolate hardened on the cookie crust.  Gotta make up for all the calories I will consume eating these delish little treats!

 

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

makes about 20 cookie bars

 

1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 c.  60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips

1 c. fine shredded coconut (unsweetened)

6 T. unsalted butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt

You could really use any caramel for this recipe but I chose to make dulce de leche because it’s not quite as sweet as caramel and SO tasty.  I have made this before but I chose to make it a different way this time.  I poured one can of sweetened condensed milk into an oven proof dish and covered it with foil.  I then baked it in a waterbath (placed it in a larger heat proof dish filled half way with water) at 425 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for about 2 hours (stirring twice during that time).  This I made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.

I used the medium pampered chef bar pan (about 8 x 12 inches) to bake the cookie crust.  Cream the sugar and butter together (I used my paddle attachment with my stand mixer), add the vanilla and then the salt and flour.  Mix together at medium speed until the mixture resembles corn meal.  Press into the buttered bar pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Cookie Crust

Remove the crust from the oven and pour the 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips over top of the hot crust.  Let sit for a few minutes and then using an off-set spatula spread the chocolate evenly over the crust.  Let cool in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.  I let my bar pan sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing it on a towel in the refrigerator so as to not break my glass shelf.

Melt the chocolate!

Spread the entire amount of dulce de leche over the bars and sprinkle with coconut.  Once evenly sprinkled lightly press the coconut evenly into the dulce de leche.  I then placed the bars in the freezer for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Caramel and Coconut!

Honestly I think I should have used only 1 cup of chocolate chips.  A thinner layer of chocolate would have made it easier to cut.  They taste really good frozen though so I cut all of my bars at once and then stored them in the freezer.  Don’t stack them though because the dulce de leche is wonderfully gooey!

 

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