TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

These, I must say, have been a mixed bag.

Caramel Crunch Bars

Initially, I was disappointed with them. The instant coffee in the batter was too strong.  The thin cookie was too crisp. The toffee pieces got stuck in my teeth.

But this being the second day they have been in my cake dome, sliced (some broken) and ready for snacking at a moment’s notice, I feel much better about them. As in, I can’t stop eating them. But that may be because I doubled the chocolate on top.

Let me explain.

As you can see from the recipe (Thanks to Whitney, who chose the cookies we all baked this week and will post the recipe), the thin and buttery pan cookie is baked, topped with chocolate ( I used milk chocolate bars rather than the bittersweet chocolate Dorie recommended) to melt, and then sprinkled with toffee. However, I got sidetracked in the kitchen and I forgot the toffee!  When I discovered my mistake 24 hours later, I topped the cookies with another candy bar, returned them to the oven to melt the chocolate, and then sprinkled them with the toffee.

It was fine.  I sliced most of them and broke several along the way, and now am enjoyed them each and every time I walk into the kitchen….got to pass the cake dome to get to the fridge, the laundry room, the kitchen sink…. They’re not my favorite, but they’ll do.

In the meantime, my TWD posts will be few and far between for a while, as I will be moving!  Cross your fingers for good weather at the end of March.

TWD: World Peace Cookies

When I think of foods that can save the world, I think of rice (Play this game! Feed the hungry!), cow (give the gift of a farm) and peanut M&Ms (they just take the edge off of everything). I do not think of double chocolate salted cookies.


World Peace?

These were nice, and the Other Eater in my Household and I were more than happy to polish a few off over the weekend, but they aren’t something I’m going to run home and bake again the next time we have a bad week at work and need a little culinary comfort. Nobody is sneaking any of these from under the dome after we officially cut ourselves off for the night. They remain safe in the cake dome nearly a week after baking.

Nevertheless, the World Peace cookies offered a nice flavor palate (they say that on the Food Network competitions all the time), what with the sweet and salty combination.  And I detected a bit of a graininess when I chewed them, which I always appreciate. But I actually preferred these cookies the day after I stored them beside a loaf of coffee cake in my cake dome; the cake made the cookies a little softer, and I preferred that to the straight-from-the-oven crispiness they had at first bite.

I’m looking forward to the next Dorie recipe. While these weren’t my favorites, they certainly were good and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to bring them to a party. You can find the recipe at cookbookhabit (her’s are a lot neater than mine looked from the top).

Salty Sweet Peanutty Treats, for Mom

My mom found this recipe for a cookie-pretzel-peanut-caramel-chocolate cookie back around the holidays.  I was too busy recreating my old-reliables to try this recipe then, but I pulled it up earlier this week when email troubles at work forced me to clean out my deleted mail folder.  After a nice really IT consultant with really bad BO solved my problem, I decided to take the recipe out of my mailbox and into my kitchen. I’m glad I did.

I’m wondering, though, if you would pick one of these cookies up from a buffet table without knowing about the salty-sweet goodness it contains. Are they visually appealing?

sweet and salty

Amazingly, I had just about everything I needed to make these cookies in the house: peanuts left over from a TWD flop, pretzels left over from holiday mock turtles, caramels from something so long ago I can’t even remember, and exactly ONE egg left in the carton. I made a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home from work for cookie mix (SACRILEGE!) and I was good to go.

The cookie base came together quickly, but was so sticky I regretted not changing out of my work clothes before I started baking.  The pretzels and peanuts were easy enough to handle, and then came the caramel topping: it took WAY longer than expected to melt, and you really do have to stir it constantly in order to get it to met evenly.   My arm did not enjoy that.

I hit a wall and went to bed before the cookies were cool enough to top with the chocolate, and I didn’t get to it for a full two days.  No matter: the caramel topping is not much to look at and provided absolutely no temptation while I took a night away from my kitchen for dinner with my in-laws.  When I got to melting the chocolate, it was a little too gloppy to drizzle or flick off of the fork, so I spread a thin layer across the whole thing.

Today, the cookies and nicer looking and perfect for my taste.  Not too much chocolate. More chewy and cake-y than crisp. Sweet AND salty. And you get a little shot of protein from the peanuts.

But I’m just not sure how they look on a table.  I attend a couple of holiday parties every year with people who either purchase beautiful cookies basket from caterers or else spend DAYS making beautiful pizzelle cookies, one of my all time favorite Italian traditions.  Could these sweet and salty treats co-mingle with such fare?