Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Some nights you just need a cookie.  I mean right now.  Immediately.  And that is why I am so happy that I recently discovered cookie bars.  Because on those nights that you just need a cookie right away, you didn’t think ahead to soften butter to room temperature, nor do you have time to let dough chill.  Enter the amazing cookie bar.  Specifically a chocolate chip cookie bar with salted caramel sauce swirled inside and sprinkled with sea salt.  Sounds complicated, right? It is not at all!!  Especially if you have some caramel sauce leftover from making these brownies.  Just melt some butter (no waiting for butter to soften in this recipe!) and mix it with sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and you are ready to go!  There is no chilling this dough, just plop it right into the pan. Well there is one little extra step, but I promise it is worth the time because it involves caramel!  Press half the dough into the pan and then pour caramel sauce all over it.  Then you dollop the cookie dough in little scoops over the top (it looks so cute!) and lightly press it down.  Sprinkle everything with some fleur de sel, and that’s it!  In about 30 minutes, warm gooey cookie bars are ready for almost immediate consumption! Now I will say that the texture changes a lot as these sit.  The bars firm up and become like actual cookies. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with sneaking a square (or two) of the warm bars when they are still doughy and gooey!  Continue reading

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Salted Caramel Brownies

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This week calls for brownies.  The holiday weekend is over.  Summer is over.  The streets of NYC are packed again with everyone back to school and back to work. Yep, definitely need some brownies this week.  And while we’re at it, might as well add a salted caramel drizzle on top.  Just because.  The week is looking up already.

This recipe is from the one and only Ina Garten.  I’ve been dying to make these since I saw them on her show.  The brownie is rich and fudgy, the caramel swirl is so sweet and buttery, and the flaked sea salt on top just ties the whole thing together.  They are nothing short of amazing! I’m not sure why she calls specifically for Hershey’s chocolate chips in the recipe, but who am I to argue with Ina?  I made TheBetterHalf go buy that exact brand for me, and in true NYC fashion it took him 3 grocery stores to find them.  All in the name of brownies.  The only change I made to the recipe is adding 2 teaspoons of instant coffee instead of the 1 ½ tablespoons that Ina calls for.  Coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in baked goods but I didn’t want to actually taste coffee in my brownies, so I reduced the amount.  Everything else was perfect – these brownies so good!   Continue reading