Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Chews

Another hit from Rose's Christmas Cookies.

These little squares are rich with a deep caramel flavor. The cookie base has oatmeal and brown sugar in it and the topping has toasted walnuts. Indulgent! Just right for the holidays.

Caramel Topping:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (use a greased liquid measuring cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Cookie Base:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 (3-ounce) bars semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Caramel Topping:
In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Stop stirring and continue boiling until the mixture caramelizes to a deep amber (candy thermometer will read 370 degrees) (Twice I cooked the caramel to 370 – using a different candy thermometer each time – and twice I burned the caramel. Mine was plenty amber-looking by 355 to 360 degrees.). Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and cream, using a long-handled ladle to pour the cream gradually to avoid spattering. Lumps will form but they will dissolve with further cooking.

Return the caramel to the range and continue boiling on medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees.

Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared cup and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour (caramel should still be pourable). Stir in the vanilla extract after 10 minutes

Cookie Base:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides only of a 9x13” pan. (I lined a 9x13” metal baking pan with parchment paper and lightly greased it. That way, after they baked, I could just lift the whole batch from the pan. Much easier.)

Beat together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until well mixed. At low speed add the melted butter.

Press the mixture into the prepared pan and pat it in to coat the bottom evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate pieces and walnuts. Drizzle the caramel mixture evenly on the top and return the pan to the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling.

Allow the chews to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Use a small metal spatula or pancake turner to dislodge the sides and invert the chews onto a plastic-wrap covered cookie sheet. Reinvert it onto a cutting surface and cut it lengthwise into 4 strips (each about 2 inches wide). Place on paper towels for at least 15 minutes to absorb the excess butter.

I had to read that twice and both times, I thought, “Huh?”

Or do what I did: I lifted the batch from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. I used two cutting boards to do the inverting and reinverting.

These little suckers are rich and I cut them in much smaller pieces; mine were more like 1 ½ inches by 1 ½ inches and that was just right.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature, each layer separated by wax paper.

Keeps about 3 weeks at room temperature or several months refrigerated or frozen.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I think I gained a couple pounds just reading this! Sounds delicious!