Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cookie #64 - Utah Salted Caramel

Despite the fact that Utah's state snack is Jell-O,
I knew I wanted to do a salted caramel cookie to represent the state. 
The result is an ooey-gooey, sticky, sweet cookie with just a hint of salt

There were a few things I'd do differently with this cookie.

First of all, I'd cut back the amount of sugar I used in the crust. 
The caramel and chocolate topping are enough sweet.

Second, I wouldn't use so much milk to thin down the caramel.  It was a bit runny.

Third, I would make a ganache as the chocolate topping rather than just melted chocolate.  The chocolate was too hard causing it to shatter when cutting.  A ganache would solve this problem and probably be a better texture to complement the caramel. 

Below is the recipe as I made it without the adjustments mentioned above.

Utah Salted Caramel Squares

Cookie base:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Caramel layer:
2 cups caramels*
4 tablespoons of milk

Chocolate layer:
2 cups chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together.  Mix in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add in small batches to butter & egg mixture.
Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 13x9" pan.
Dock the dough by pricking with a fork all over the dough.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. 
Melt caramels and milk in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between.  It will seem like the caramels and milk will never come together, but just keep stirring - they'll cooperate.  Once melted and smooth, pour over the cookie crust and transfer to the fridge to cool completely, about 1 hour.
Melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave on half-power at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between.  Be careful not to scorch the chocolate.  You can also do this in a double boiler if you'd like, but if you're careful, you can do it in the microwave.
Pour melted chocolate over the caramel and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate.  Once chocolate has hardened, cut carefully into squares.

*I used Kraft Caramel Bits.  They're little chips of caramel and you don't have the hassle of unwrapping all those caramels. 

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