It is no secret that I love cookies and bars, especially when chocolate is involved. For some time now, I have known that chocolate is and always be my downfall. But when you add caramel to the mix… Let’s just say that I will be bingeing along with the rest of the addicts.
So far, very few of the recipes that we have prepared since I started baking along with the Tuesdays with Dorie group have been earmarked as “must make again” recipes. While some may think I am crazy, I am not; I am a professional pastry chef and I spend my days baking sweet stuff. My palate is well-developed and I love many of the things I bake. However, if I ate them as frequently as I baked them, I would weigh about 750 pounds. When you spend as much time working with sugar as a typical pastry chef does, you often find yourself craving things that aren’t sweet. For me, popcorn and pretzels are generally what I reach for. Even so, something sweet will make an appearance and ice cream, cookies or even a coffee cake are typical choices in my home. These bars however, are something that I really would consider making again.
This. The reason I would make these again; the crispy topping. Simple enough, burn sugar, stir in crispy rice cereal and then break it up and press it into a melted chocolate topped brown sugar cookie bar. They should be called legal crack bars because like potato chips, you will not be able to stop yourself.
Cooking sugar to the caramel stage is trickier than you think. It is easy to over cook it and before you know it, black smoke is billowing out of the pan and a horrible bitter smell will fill the air. Never walk away, trust me, you will regret it. This time around, I stood there and waited and watched and waited and watched. When I could see the color developing, I gave the pan a few swirls and when it reached a nice light amber color, I stirred in the cereal. Sure, I could have gone a little darker but I am not liking my glass-topped stove and the way it holds onto heat so I stopped a little sooner than I would have liked to. Even so, I am glad I made a larger batch than called for; it made up for the half cup I ate as it cooled…
Look at the sugar hairs. Now you know how cotton candy is made. Sugar cooked to the hard crack stage and spun into fine hairs. Yes, hard crack, the stage before caramel, a fitting name if you ask me.
Now like any other addict, I will have to hide my stash. Actually, I will do one better and walk away. Thinking I need to send these away, quickly. If you are smart, you will make these and if you do, be sure to give them away as fast as you can. Powerful stuff. You will find yourself making all sorts of deals and promises for just one more bite.
Join us if you can, we bake and post each Tuesday. The only requirement, a copy of the book since we do not post recipes out of respect for the author. This recipe can be found in Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. To see how the other bakers fared, visit the website and check out the LYL page. Be sure to join us as we alternate between this book and Baking with Julia and post about our experiences each Tuesday.