I am not usually a fan of a cookie bar………until I made these Caramel Cookie Dough Bars. All I can say is yum!!!
Shortbread is one of my favorite tastes, a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and little bit crispy……just an all around tasty treat. Every year for Christmas,once we reached a certain age,my Grandma would buy us a tin of shortbread cookies and wrap them in a dish towel. I loved those tins and the cookies.To this day shortbread always reminds me of my Grandma.
Since this is a layered bar I guess I will need to speak of each layer. Shortbread……check!
Caramel…..it can make anything taste great. Now, I have made homemade caramel many times, but I discovered a little secret…….Dulce de Leche. It’s caramel, in a can, already to go! It’s in the same section as the sweetened condensed milk at the grocery store. If I can save a step,and it tastes great, I say why not! But feel free to make your own for this recipe.
Cookie Dough……I have never made cookie dough without eggs before and since you do not bake these bars, except for the shortbread layer, you need an egg free cookie dough. This one is really good and you don’t have to worry about getting sick from eating it.
Chocolate Ganache…….what can I say about dark chocolate and cream that hasn’t already been said……….it’s a slice of heaven.
Combine all these layers and you get a sinfully rich and delicious bar. Speaking of which, I think there are two still left…………yeah!
1 can dulce de leche (by the sweetened condensed milk)
For Cookie Dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
For Chocolate Ganache:
1½ cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides. To make the shortbread, beat butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Press the dough into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until edges are slightly browned.
For the caramel layer: Spread caramel evenly over the shortbread crust. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes.
To prepare cookie dough, beat butter and sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Spread cookie dough on top of caramel layer using a spatula to smooth dough into an even layer. Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Ganache Layer: Place 1 cup chocolate chips and heavy cream in a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Remove from microwave and add remaining chocolate chips and vanilla and stir until smooth and silky. Pour the ganache over the cookie dough layer and chill until set, about 30 minutes.
To remove bars from pan, grasp the edges of the parchment paper and lift out the entire block. Place on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to cut into 2-inch squares. Refrigerated in an airtight container, bars will keep for up to 3 days.
My biggest problem with this post is how much can you say about a Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich?
Chocolate Chip cookies are by far the best cookie in the world. They are loved by children and adults alike. It is a memory from everyones childhood……..the Grandma, Mother, or favorite Aunt who made the best cookie you ever had.
Ice Cream…….well, my love affair with it goes wayyyyyy back. Hot summer nights, a drive to town (yes I lived in the country as a girl) with the 2-55 air conditioning, for an ice cream cone from the Dairy Freeze. All towns had that place, the one that was only open in the summer, and served soft serve ice cream cones and sundaes with hot fudge that was warm but cool.
So, mixing the two tastes blends two childhood memories perfectly. The beauty of this recipe is that is makes just enough for you and someone special for a cool treat, and a walk down memory lane.
For this recipe I used the Perfect Single Size Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from No.2 Pencil. For my Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches I used a small ice cream scoop and made 8 small cookies. Once baked and cooled, I used a scoop of ice cream, and made four mini sandwiches. Back in the freezer for a while and done!
A bag of Organic Lemons on sale!!!!!!…………on sale for $1.49!!!!!!! Too good of a bargain to pass up!!!!
Oh no!! What do I do with a bag of Organic Lemons????……….When life hands you lemons, at a bargain price ……..you make Almond Lemon Crumb Bars, of course!
I must admit, I have not always liked lemon bars. Maybe the ones I remember from childhood were too artificial lemony, or maybe I just wasn’t a lemon lover. Well, times they do change………I love lemon, but it has to be real lemon! By real lemon I do not mean that little plastic lemon shape with juice inside, nor do I mean the big green bottle called real lemon. I mean, the buy it in the produce section, bright yellow, squeeze it yourself lemon.
So, not wanting just a plain average lemon bar, not that they are not good, but I wanted to do something a little jazzier with my lemons.
I like a crumbly crunchy topping on…….well almost anything, but on a dessert bar it’s the bomb! A nice cookie crust with just a hint of almond flavor, a soft silky center with just the right amount of lemon, and the crunchy topping with sliced almonds.
Now, Tim and I are really trying to do the healthy thing……with moderate success. So instead of us eating the whole pan, I bestowed my Almond Lemon Crumb Bars on our neighbors and my co-workers. I saved us each one bar………OK two, but they were really small……but at least we didn’t eat the whole pan………now if we could just learn to drive by the Dairy Queen…..LOL.
Spray a 9"x 13" baking pan with non stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
With a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and creamy.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour and salt, mixing until dough is crumbly but holds together when pinched.
Press dough evenly and firmly into prepared pan. Chill 10 to 15 minutes.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Mix flour and ginger in the bowl of a food processor. Process until ginger is finely chopped (about 1 minute)if using crystalized ginger. Stir in baking powder.
Whisk together eggs and sugar. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined. Stir in lemon juice and zest.
Pour filling mixture over crust.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is almost set. Remove from oven and set aside while making the topping.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter, mixing well. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over filling. Gently press into the filling.
Return to oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and almonds are lightly toasted.
Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
Decorated with candied lemons, or sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
*You can substitute 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar , mixed with 2 teaspoons of water in place of crystallized ginger. Do not mix add to flour mixture but add with wet ingredients.