Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Billion $Dollar$ Cookie Dough Bars

A few weeks ago, we had our Annual church picnic.  Our congregation is always responsible for bringing either a meat/dessert or a meat/side dish combo.  I ALWAYS choose to make the meat/dessert combo.  I had been dying to make the dessert below, but I had NO idea how time consuming it was.  I think I started this dessert at 9:30 am and I didn't finish until almost 2:00 pm.  Ahhhhh!  It had a million ingredients, it took a million hours, it cost a million dollars to make, it had a million calories, but it tasted like a BILLION bucks!!!!  It was so worth it....all of it.  

It contained 8 sticks of butter!! NO LIE!!!  If you want to impress someone with a delicious dessert, this is DEFINITELY the dessert to make. I feel the right to say that this is truly the BEST dessert I have EVER made.
After all of the hard labor, this is what the bars look like cut into "rows".  
 Look at that dripping, HOMEMADE caramel seeping out.
Is this not the most delicious dessert you've EVER laid eyes on?
This recipe involves 4 layers. See below.

For Shortbread:
2 cups (1 lb or 4 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Caramel:
2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp *fleur de sel* or fine sea salt
*see below

For Cookie Dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For Chocolate Ganache:
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Generously coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides.

To make the shortbread, beat butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Press the dough into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until edges are slightly browned. It may look puffy and jiggly in the center at first, but it will fall and set as it cools. 

For the caramel layer, make Salted Caramel Sauce recipe on Pour about half of the hot caramel mixture over the shortbread crust. Refrigerate until set, at least one hour. If the caramel is still soft and sticky after 1 hour, freeze for another 15 minutes before continuing. I stored the rest of the caramel in a glass jar, in the refrigerator, and allowed Ty to use it to dip his apple slices in. I've never tasted ANY caramel like this.  It's not just caramel. It's SALTED caramel.

To prepare cookie dough, beat butter and sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Spread cookie dough on top of caramel layer using a spatula to smooth dough into an even layer. Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache Layer: Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl. In a saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and vanilla and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour over the chocolate chips, let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. Pour the ganache over the cookie dough layer and chill until set, about 30 minutes.

To remove bars from pan, grasp the edges of the parchment paper and lift out the entire block. Place on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to cut into 2-inch squares. Refrigerated in an airtight container, bars will keep for up to 3 days.

* If you do NOT have a store that carries the fleur de sel (such as the Fresh Market), then you can use about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (That's what I did and it came out perfect.  Next time, I will get the fleur de del.  I just didn't have it on hand!).

*Disclaimer: If you are dieting at all, I wouldn't even make this dessert.  Just the sight of it may cause you to gain weight.*