These salted chocolate pecan caramel bars consist of a delicious deep chocolate shortbread cookie base, topped with a salted chocolate caramel, and then sprinkled with toasted pecans.
These things are gooey and sticky, and amazing. The chocolate caramel is so freaking delicious! There are actually coffee notes in the flavor of these bars, even though there is no espresso in the recipe. Perhaps it comes from the toasted pecans.
Sample quotes from my colleagues at work:
"I was going to eat just a bit and save it for later, but I ate it all."
"OMG, these things are amazing!"
"That salted caramel was outrageous."
These things are killer good, and will make you feel very "chef-y."
I've made caramel before, but not chocolate caramel. This caramel was a revelation. Next time I make these bars, I'm making extra, just to keep as a topping. It's incredible.
This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Dorie's Cookies. It's on a lot of Best Cookbooks for 2016 lists, and I can understand why. I've been a HUGE fan of Dorie Greenspan. In fact, I have five of her cookbooks nestled in a prominent spot on my cookbook shelves.
As Dorie describes this recipe, "This is the kind of cookie that makes you think you should stop everything, throw over your regular life and open a fancy pastry shop just so you can have a legit excuse to bake - and eat - these every day."
Do you like cookies? You need to get this book.
After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the Creative Cookie Exchange bakers' cookies.
Salted Chocolate Pecan Caramel Bars
For the Shortbread
- 1 cup (136 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Caramel
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 3 pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup ( 60 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch by 8 inch pan generously. I lined mine with foil, which I buttered, to make a sling to lift the bars out of the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter, sugar, and salt for about 2 minutes, until smooth.
- All all of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, and mix on low until fully incorporated and the dough comes together. This took a few minutes.
- Scrape the bowl with a spatula and quickly squeeze the dough with your hands to bring it together.
- Press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for about 21 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- To make the caramel, add the sugar, water, and corn syrup to a 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook the mixture without stirring until it becomes a light to medium amber color. As you begin to see color developing, swirl the pan a couple of times and watch fairly closely so that it doesn't get overly dark.
- Lower the heat. Stand back and add the cream, butter, and salt. Turn off the heat, stir in the chocolate, and pour the mixture over the shortbread in the pan. Sprinkle with the pecans.
- Allow the bars to cool at room temperature. Unmold the cookie from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Using a chef's knife, cut the bars into as many pieces as you like. I cut mine into 15 bars.
- The bars can be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Remove from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.
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