I try to keep a well-stocked pantry, so when I come across recipes, I am prepared. It’s nice when I don’t have to go to the store to get specific ingredients. Even though I plan what I am going to bake in advance, sometimes I don’t feel like making the recipe I’d picked or I come across another recipe that I want to make right away. I try to keep a variety of chocolate chips on hand, as well as different types of nuts, and an ingredient that I used in this recipe: some sort of caramel or dulce de leche.
There are many types of caramel sauces out there on the market. They vary a lot. Some are extra sweet, others are more buttery. For most recipes, either would work. One thing that I should say is that the thickness of the different types of sauce can be problematic. Dulce de leche is very thick. I use Nestlé’s La Lechera version, which is canned and can be found in most grocery stores. (You can make your own by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk, but that didn’t work well for me when I tried.) Other types of caramel sauce, usually found near the ice cream at the grocery store, isn’t usually thick enough for most recipes. (If you can find Fran’s Caramel Sauce, it’s excellent.)
These bars take some extra care to make. There isn’t a lot of dough, it’s sticky, and it’s hard to thinly spread dough that contains chocolate chips. I ended up using about two thirds of the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, not half like the original recipe. I didn’t really measure how much dulce de leche I used; it was about half of the 13 ounce can. For the top layer of dough, I randomly dropped pieces of dough and when it was baked it looked beautiful! These bars are soft with a wonderful buttery, salty caramel flavor.
Salted Dulce De Leche Cookie Bars
1 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup toffee bits
½-1 cup dulce de leche
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a small, heavy sauce pan, melt butter over medium low heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is browned. Watch carefully to avoid burning the butter. Transfer the browned butter to a bowl and allow to cool for 1o minutes.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the browned butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits.
Spread about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Spread the dulce de leche over the dough. Piece the remaining dough on top of the dulce de leche. It won’t be a complete layer. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies are set and golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into bars.
Recipe from Bakerita