Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars – Naughty But Very Nice
Today is the first day of National Chocolate Week. It’s caught me completely unawares this year. I’m worried I’m losing my chocolate grip. In a panic, I’ve just had a look through my draft posts to see if I have anything suitable. Well, I sort of do, a post from 18 months ago! These caramel chocolate chip bars may not be overloaded with chocolate, but they were rather good.
Sometimes, rather too often in fact, I just want something sweet and comforting. Today was one of those days. I blame our local library which has far too many tempting cookery books. Recently, I just so happened on a new Hummingbird Bakery book, Life is Sweet. Although I generally find American recipes too sweet, even for me, I thought I’d take a look anyway.
I’m glad I did as there are lots of great ideas in the book. I do like the American penchant for traybakes and bars and there are plenty to choose from. In a hurry, I opted for the relatively easy caramel chocolate chip bars. And I was right of course, talk about sugar overload. I cut down the sugar by a 5th and they were still very sweet. But they were good and just what I needed. Soft caramel flavoured sponge with a crispy top. The caramel had sunk in patches as had the chocolate, so from time to time there were bites of gooey fudgy chocolatey bliss.
As well as cutting down on the sugar, I halved the quantities and added a bit of mesquite powder to give the caramel flavour a boost and add some nutrients. I used a mix of two thirds wholemeal to one third plain flour which worked very well.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 200 g light muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used homemade)
- 180 g flour ( I used 120g wholemeal, 60g plain)
- 1 scant tsp baking powder
- 1 heaped tsp mesquite powder (optional)
- pinch of rock salt
- 3 tbsp buttermilk or soured milk (I used kefir)
- 50 g dark chocolate chips
- 100 g toffees
- 40 ml double cream
- Put the toffees and cream into a small pan over a gentle heat and leave to melt whilst getting on with the rest - an occasional stir is all that is needed. Remove as soon as you have a caramel sauce.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one.
- Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
- Add the milk and stir in gently followed by the chocolate chips.
- Scrape the mixture into an 20cm (8") sq. silicone mould or lined cake tin and spread evenly.
- Pour the caramel over the top and bake at 175℃ for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out almost clean.
- Leave to cool, then cut into 12 rectangular bars.
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery's Life is Sweet