Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Chip Caramel Crisp Bars

Crispy Caramel Cashew Bars - made July 8, 2011 from Cookie Dough Delights by Camilla V Saulsbury (book #136)

This is another baking book that I'm baffled I bought since I almost never bake with store-bought cookie dough and that's exactly what the recipes in this book are based on.  I must've been lured by the cover or had convinced myself it was a good opportunity to try out something I don't normally do (I can rationalize anything when it comes to buying baking books). However, this is also another baking book I'd recommend for novice bakers or busy bakers with kids who want to help in the kitchen.  The recipes are easy to follow and typically require less ingredients than making cookie doughs from scratch.

In this case, I followed almost nothing from this recipe since I still couldn't bring myself to buy store-bought cookie dough and I left off the cashews featured in the title but I do credit this recipe with giving me the idea for the flavor combinations so I'm posting it as the recipe writer intended for it to be made.  But I essentially made this one up as I went along.

In my case, contrary to the premise of the book, I made the chocolate chip cookie dough from scratch - you can use your favorite cookie recipe and just spread the dough as the bottom layer.  This is the one time where it's okay to use a recipe where the cookies are apt to spread.  In fact, it's better if you do since you don't want a cakey or stiff dough.  I also didn't use caramel apple dip and instead melted caramels with a bit of milk for the caramel.  That's more of a flavor and texture preference on my part.  Once the bottom chocolate chip cookie layer was baked and had cooled, I spread a layer of melted caramel over it and let it set before I covered it with the nutella crunch topping I'm so fond of.

This turned out to be a nice bar cookie confection - it's good with the chocolate chip cookie layer but if you wanted to make it even more decadent, you can make a chocolate brownie base instead, top it with caramel then the nutella crunch.  Serious calories but worth it.

1 18-ounce roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, well chilled
2 cups milk chocolate chips, divided
1 16-ounce container (about 1 ½ cups) caramel apple dip, divided
3 cups crisp rice cereal
1 ¼ cups chopped lightly salted cashews

1.       Preheat oven to 350⁰F.  Spray a 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil.
2.       Slice cookie dough into ¼-inch-thick slices.  Arrange slices in bottom of the prepared pan.  With floured fingers, press dough evenly to form crust.
3.       Bake 10-14 minutes or until light golden brown (dough will appear slightly puffed).  Remove from the oven; cool 15 minutes.
4.       In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the caramel dip.  Cook over medium heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cereal and cashews; immediately spread over cooled crust.
5.       In small saucepan, combine remaining 1 cup chips and ½ cup caramel dip.  Cook over medium heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly.  Spread over cereal mixture.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set.  Cut into bars.


  1. These look awesome! I have seen brownies topped with this type of krispy topping, but I think a chocolate chip cookie base sounds better. Yum!

  2. I LOVE using the ready made dough...I do believe you posted this one just for me (You just didn't realize it at the time=) Thanks - sounds amazingly yummy.