Last week, I had HUGE aspirations of creating a beautiful union of chocolate cheesecake, caramel, and soft chocolate chip cookies in the most delightful and aesthetic of 1.5 by 1.5 inch squares. Despite a thorough search on Pinterest, Google, AllRecipes, and even my most trusted baking blogs, I found no recipe to satisfy my growing desire to bake such a multitude of goodness in one pan.
So I decided to make one up.
And, as often happens in such situations, my ambition exceeded my ability.
What resulted was an on-the-go, little bit of this, little bit of that, toss it in the oven and cross my fingers.
aka. chocolate chip cookie base, caramel layer, chocolate cheesecake layer, caramel layer and then cookie bits crumbled on top (photo to the right), all of which took an infinite amount of time to bake and even then I wasn't sure I had done it properly, or thoroughly.
Seriously. Constant checking. Constant indecision.
It tasted good though.
Or so I am told.
I was so rattled by the challenge of cooking thoroughly through to the bottom of this massive square without burning the top (added a tin foil covering at some point) and my uncertainty of whether or not I had successfully cooked the cheesecake and trying to figure if it had "set" with those huge caramel layers keeping everything wiggly when hot...
It took me a few days to recover my cookie confidence!
Required many naps and cuddles. And pictures of pugs.
Alas, I am back. And determined, as always, although waveringly, to discover the best combination of treats possible.
However, I think I will stick to established recipes.
Chocolate Cheesecake Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie bars, I will perfect you! And when I do, it will be fully documented on the blog.
Embracing my inner Beyonce-like Baker. All sass. All confidence.
This is what fearless looks like.
And this dude, who is casually playing with a shark... :|
and, almost, kind of like this:
baking the same thing that shook my confidence last week (minus the cheesecake, because I am a chicken) and it being awesome!
Alright, still not quite fearless. But I'm getting there.
Bring on the Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares!
This was the part of the recipe last week that I actually enjoyed. It serves as a fabulously basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, simple to whip up and one that is over-flowing with chocolate chips. Seriously. So many chocolate goodies. I found it through Pinterest and got the recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod. Nice site, right?
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (THIS IS A LOT and IT'S AMAZING)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
*optional add: 10 - 15 individually wrapped caramel candy squares (unwrapped)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 F. I used a 9 x 12 pan, lightly buttered.
Add flour, salt and baking soda together, whisking so that they are fully combined.
In a separated bowl, mix melted butter and sugars until fully combined. This is easiest in an electric mixer. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and then add the dry ingredients, while mixing slowly. Once everything is just combined, stir in chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix.
Make the Caramel layer. Girl just can't get enough. As you may have noticed, I have used this fail-safe caramel more than once. Refer to my Caramel Brownie post to see a detailed how-to.
The original recipe called for melting caramel candy squares with sweetened condensed milk. But I just can't stand the smell of hot condensed milk. I have made banofee pie and love it when it's cold but I just can't stand the smell when it's cooking - anyone else feel that way?
I compromised by adding those caramel candies into my own mixture. I thought it might thicken it? I'm not sure it had much of an effect in that respect, but it certainly made more caramel over-all.
Do I need another reason to use them? It was obviously worth it.
Press half of the cookie dough into your pan, covering it completely.
Remember how I said there were like a million chocolate chips in this recipe?
I put some of them into their own layer. There were just far too many to reasonable fold into the dough, or so I thought. I could be wrong. But I usually forget those instances and instead blissfully like to believe that I am often... hmm, no, to be more accurately, I am always correct.
And who doesn't want a chocolate chip layer? See, again, I am always right.
Oh, and I also did 1 cup of big chocolate chips and 1 cup of minis in the whole recipe.
It makes it 10 times better that way.
Next you add the caramel. All of it. Do not be shy.
What?! Why the heck an I eating leaves?!
Must. Refrain. From. Eating. Caramel. for now.
Crumble cookie layer on top... while subtly licking caramel from every unnoticeable source. Okay, a few noticeable sources too.
Toss that thing in the oven NOW so that you can take them out again in 30 minutes.
aka eat them in 30 minutes.
Although, you should perhaps wait a moment or two for them to cool down first.
Okay, so you can eat them in 32 minutes.
Second best to eating them is ogling photos of the finished product. ommm nommmm.
Remember that chocolate chip layer?
Well it wouldn't let you forget it even if you tried!
There it is, literally shouting to get your attention.
You oblige. Cannot resist chocolate oozing to surface.
And if you manage to save some squares for later (I commend your self-restraint), they will even manage to look delectable while being stored right side up, sideways, and upside down in a cheap little tupperware!
Excuse me while I lick the oozing chocolate and caramel from my fingers.
and from around my face.
much like this.