P&Q: Caramel Crunch Bars

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47 thoughts on “P&Q: Caramel Crunch Bars

  1. i made these last night. they were very very good. the dough was irresistible! you will die.

    i made them with milk chocolate and am kind of wishing i would have done bittersweet.

    i am taking photos of them in just few minutes! woot woot!

    oh and i can’t wait for all of march’s recipes. i am already excited for the yogurt cake.

  2. I am having a tough time finding toffee bits, let alone ones that safe for DD to eat, since most are made with almonds. Does anyone have a good toffee recipe or know where I can get some safe ones? Any other brilliant ideas on what I could substitute with? I was thinking of butterscotch chips, but they’ll get melty.

  3. As much as I can’t handle the butter and the Southern accent, Paula Deen’s English toffee recipe is FABULOUS. It’s on foodnetwork.com, just search for it and leave out the nuts and chocolate on top.

  4. I made these a couple of weeks ago. They were great and made a big hit when I served them. Mine were really really crumbly though, and the chopped chocolate in the base layer didn’t help that. I would skip that chocolate next time, or add it to the topping instead. Also, the bars are thin. Quite thin. Next time I might bake them in a 9×9 or even 8×8 and have all the layers a bit thicker. Between the thinness and the crumbliness, I could never have made ice cream sandwiches with mine (not that I tried).
    Nancy

  5. Sinfully good! I made them last night and now they’re gone. I loved watching the crust bubble. I used all the ends of chocolate in the fridge, so mine was a mix of semi-sweet and 70% cocoa. I used Skor pieces that were leftover from the holiday shortbread and they were crunchy and sweet.

  6. I think I’ll have to pass on this one and save it for another time – it sounds delicious. I went through Blogger hell last weekend and am still in limbo, although I have a nice new blog but still some work to do on it.

  7. My base is in the oven right now! I’ve been looking forward to these. Looking ahead to the yogurt cake – I was at the grocery today and could not find lemon marmalade. Any ideas? Will lemon curd work instead? I’m not really fond of orange marmalade so I might have to try something else if I can’t find the lemon.

  8. I liked these a lot! The only teeny problem I had was that the toffee bits fell off when we ate these. They stuck to my hand when I was pressing them into the warm chocolate, so next time I’d press them in more firmly, using wax paper or parchment or something that the toffee bits won’t stick to.

  9. Kristin, Dorie says the cake is good with lemon curd, and I think it would be. Also any lemon glaze would be yummy on it. I served it without any topping and everybody really liked it – I did the olive oil/herb variation.

  10. I have only two confessions with these:

    1. I didn’t like these at first. I think just because they weren’t quite what I was expecting them to taste like, not because they were bad. But they grew on me.

    2. The whole thing was gone in 4 days. And nobody was here but me. Oops?

  11. I think this was the best recipe of the month–very, very yummy! I typically don’t like crunchy/crispy cookies, but these were fantastic. I didn’t have toffee bits, so I just chopped up pecans on top. Loved them!

  12. I baked mine in a 9×9 pan and they came out the perfect thickness to pile ice cream in the middle. They were super easy to make and tasted SO good with vanilla ice cream in the middle.
    No troubles with this one except they may not last another hour in my house!

  13. I made these today and in the interest of my husband’s taste, left out the espresso powder and added a teaspoon of cinnamon instead. They are very good, but I think my butter was a bit too soft when I beat it resulting in slightly oily cookies. I made a cinnamon cayenne pepper toffee for the top that worked really well and dusted them with cocoa powder to tone down the sweet just a touch. I am still working out a few kinks in my toffee recipe. Hopefully by Tuesday I will be ready to post it.

  14. These are fantastic! I made mine in a silicone 9×9 pan because I like a thicker crust; they popped out perfectly. I used Skore bits and put on a few extra, toffee is a favorite of mine. They cut easily, didn’t crumble and all the toffee stayed intact.

  15. Anyone have a suggestion for a substitution for the coffee grounds? We don’t do coffee at our house and I am looking for something else that would work. Maybe hot chocolate mix?

  16. Made these last night. When Dorie says they are sticky, she wasn’t kidding. I made half a recipe and put it in a loaf pan because I thought it would take a lot of cajoling to spread into a 9×9.

  17. Hi April – I buy the little bottle of espresso powder. I use it just for baking. Most stores sell the little 2oz jars – brand “Medaglia D’Oro. It will keep for a long time on your shelf, and it’s a lot better tasting than “instant coffee granules”, in my opinion. The nice part is, you just need a small amount to give you a nice “kick” of flavor. Hot chocolate could work – or maybe dutch cocoa?

  18. I have bittersweet but not enough. So I am going to use the bittersweet in the base as directed and I think I’m going to try dark chocolate in the topping. I have a bag of Hershey’s special dark chips and want to use them up. Wish me luck, hope we like them!

    Are these chewy or crunchy or a combination? Just wondering how they hold up when you bite into the ice cream sandwich, does it just squish?

  19. April – you can just skip the espresso powder and they would still be great. I left it out and added a teaspoon of cinnamon. I think hot chocolate mix would get lost with all the chocolate already in the recipe and you would be better off adding a flavor that acts as a counterpoint. You could even boost the salt and go for the World Peace cookie concept if you liked that, or add some nuts.

  20. I made mine in mini muffin cups – a half batch yielded 24 minis, just fyi. It was a bit tough getting the batter into the little cups and spreading the chocolate, but they do look kinda cute. Anyone wonder how Dorie got such perfect looking Heath bar chips on the photo in the book? Mine were more crumbly, chocolatey, all different sizes. Definitely a food stylist’s hand in there! :)

  21. Ellen – I noticed that too. My Heath chips were definitely more darker and varied in color. The recipe photo makes them look more like crushed peanuts. Still good though.

    Amanda – these were crunchy – but a moist crunchy, if that makes sense. :)

  22. Ok – I just answered my own question. Heath sells two kinds of toffee chips. “Milk Chocolate-covered bits” and regular ones. Obviously Dorie used the regular, and I bought the Milk Chocolate-covered ones. I noticed mine didn’t really have a strong “toffee-flavor” – which wasn’t bad at all. But I suppose if you wanted more flavor, buy the regular kind.

  23. I didn’t have the espresso powder, but the book said “or finely ground instant coffee”. I had just recently made a chocolate mousse that called for some instant coffee, so I happened to have that. Tossed a little bit it a zipper sandwich bag and rolled it with a rolling pin, worked perfectly!

    I made these yesterday. Everyone seemed to like them ;0) Mine didn’t come out as pretty as the book, but they were very easy to make.

  24. I dont have espresso powder either, but we have a jar of Maxwell’s house instant coffee (gross, but we’re too lazy to brew..haha) I just crushed it up like amanda except I just used the back of a spoon. I have this thing about using ziploc bags and try to avoid wasting them as much as i can..haha

  25. I wanted to err on the side of too much dough rather than too little, so I used an 8×8 pan (I don’t own a 9×9) and also got a mini-springform out of it. I’ve noticed than usually when Dorie calls for chopped chocolate in a recipe, it’s a bit too much for my taste, so I only used about an ounce instead three in the dough. I also made caramel ice cream this weekend, and it is an excellent combination.

    Ellen, I thought I had bought the crumbliest bag of Heath bits since mine looked absolutely nothing like the picture. I guess they’re all like that.

  26. My heath bits looked like Dorie’s, but I did notice that the store they had two different kinds: 1) Bits of Brickle (the kind that Dorie has on hers) and 2) English Toffee Bits which have a coating of chocolate on them

  27. I made these in a 9X9 and they turned out great. Extremely sweet but probably one of the richest, most delicious desserts I’ve made.

    My only issue is that the chocolate is separating from some of the bars, completely. Did I not press the chocolate hard enough to the base or was the base cooked too long and too hard? They taste fine but I am just confused why some of them are adjoined and some turned out to be two separate pieces. I think I will make these again this weekend for a party so I am hoping to fix whatever I did for the next batch. Thanks.

  28. My Heath bits were basically a bag of powder (the chocolate topping) with some various sizes of toffee. My bars don’t look anything like Dorie’s for this reason. I hope the chocolate powder from the bag of Heath bits doesn’t give my bars a funky taste!

    They were super simple to make and smelled wonderful while they were baking.

  29. I just pulled these out of the oven. They smell wonderful. I used a different size pan, I’m guessing it is closer to a 9×9…could be a 7×10. I need to measure it. Anyway, I used a spatula to press the toffee into the chocolate. I’m a little concerned that my bars may be too dark. I guess we’ll find out when I return from work and eat them for dessert.

  30. Kristen, I didn’t read all the other replies, so I don’t know what has been said, but I’m going to make these today with colorful sprinkles instead of the toffee–my kids will eat anything with sprinkles, but they won’t eat the toffee!

  31. I just crushed up mini Heath bars, which were fine. It added more chocolate to the topping, which is NOT a bad thing!
    I also made mine in a 9×13 baking dish and it came out great. My chocolate only set after I kept it in the fridge for a bit. I also ended up pressing the toffee bits down with a spatula to ensure they would stick!

  32. Those of you that used smaller pans, how long did you bake it for? I think I will use a 9×9 and I made toffee but the kids and DH didn’t like it so I will do half toffee, half sprinkles.

  33. Kristen,

    I used a 7×10 pan, which I am guessing is about the same thickness as a 9×9 and I baked mine for 30 minutes. Hope this helps:) It might look a little too dark, but the bars turn out just fine.

  34. These bars are delicious. I tried mine last night with salted caramel ice cream and hot fudge sauce on top. Incredible.

    If anyone is still needs a toffee recipe for the crunchy top, here’s the one I used:

    1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    Cut butter into 8 pieces and in a heavy saucepan combine with sugar, corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water. Bring mixture to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and boil, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 290°F., about 7 minutes. Take off the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and immediately pour mixture into baking pan. Quickly spread toffee in an even layer. Chill.

  35. Loved, loved, LOVED this recipe. Made them into ice cream sandwiches with homemade salted butter caramel ice cream.

    A toffee tip: I couldn’t find toffee bits OR plain toffee, and I didn’t want to make any for such a small amount, so I bought a heath bar, “shaved” off the chocolate layer (surprisingly easy to do) and chopped it up. Instant toffee bits!

  36. Well even though mine were good, I’m guessing mine were overdone? They were crunchy. I tried the ice cream sandwiches but they were too hard to bite into. These were not chewy bars, did i overbake?

  37. Holy cow these were good! With all that butter I should just go ahead and rub them on my thighs. ;) Instant favorite here, but I do think I’ll try the 9×9 next time like others have suggested. I’ve got them all packaged up to go to work with me tomorrow or I’m sure hub and I would every last one.

  38. Pingback: Confectiona’s Realm » Blog Archive » Tuesdays With Dorie: Caramel Crunch Bars

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