OXO is donating $100 per blog post (up to a $100,000 commitment) to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I received free OXO products for help in creating this recipe.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. OXO proudly supports Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and has pledged $100,000 in donations this month with their blogger outreach program. I signed up to receive a few new products and in exchange for sharing this recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars with my readers, OXO ensures another $100 is donated. It’s a win/win for everyone!
If you’ve never heard of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer organization you can find more about them, donate and even sign up to host your own fundraiser HERE.
It all started with 96,000 cookies…
When 2-year-old Liam Witt was diagnosed with childhood cancer in 2007, his parents Larry and Gretchen were shocked to learn of the lack of effective treatments for pediatric cancers due to lack of funding. They pledged to support the funding of research for safer, more effective treatments for children battling cancer. With the help of 250 volunteers, his mom Gretchen baked and sold 96,000 cookies, raising more than $400,000 for research. Word spread, and people nationwide began asking, “How can I help?”
My recipe today comes from Dorie Greenspan’s soon to be released cookbook (October 25, 2016) Dorie’s Cookies. A simple chocolate shortbread cookie base is draped in a chocolate-kissed homemade caramel and sprinkled with toasted pecans and a dusting of sea salt. They are a sophisticated bar cookie you’ll be happy to take to your next soiree.
I used OXO’s Glass 2 Qt Baking Dish with Lid for the cookies which I love for both the color of the lid and the transportability of the container. And the Brownie Spatula is essential for serving because it is just the right size for smaller bar cookies (and brownies or blondies) like these. Be sure and PIN this recipe so you have it ready for holiday entertaining. And even more importantly check out Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and help them in their crusade to find a cure for pediatric cancers!
- 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 1⁄3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature (or slightly warmed in a microwave)
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce; 28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and very soft
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fleur de sel or a good-size pinch of fine sea salt
- 2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- About 1⁄2 cup (60 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Generously butter (or spray) an 8-inch square pan.
- To make the shortbread base: Whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low until the dough comes together. This will take a little longer than you might expect, so don’t get discouraged. Give the dough a few last turns with a flexible spatula and scrape it out into the pan. Using your fingertips, pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan; press down and make sure to get the dough into the corners.
- Bake the shortbread for 21 to 23 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes, or until it is slightly darker around the edges and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan; it will not feel completely firm if poked gently. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the shortbread to cool completely.
- To make the caramel topping: Put a heatproof bowl close to the stovetop, along with a small bowl of cold water and a pastry brush (preferably silicone).
- Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan or skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow the ingredients to bubble away, brushing down the sides of the pan with cold water if there are spatters and swirling the pan a couple of times once you start seeing some color, until the caramel turns a pale to medium amber. (Don’t let it get as dark as mahogany.) Lower the heat, stand away from the pan and add the cream, followed by the butter and salt — ingredients that might cause the caramel to roil. Remove the pan from the heat, drop in the chocolate and, using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir to blend.
- Pour the hot caramel over the shortbread and sprinkle with the nuts. Allow to set at room temperature.
- When the caramel is firm, run a table knife around the sides of the pan, care- fully unmold the cookie onto a rack and turn it over onto a cutting board. Using a long thin knife, cut 21 bars (cut into 3 strips and then cut each strip into 7 bars). Alternatively, leave the cookie whole and cut individual bars as needed.
- When the caramel is fully set, the cookies (cut or intact) can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Remove them from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.