We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cookie Recipe #144 - Brownie Caramel Pecan Bars

A brownie alone is delicious, but add a layer of gooey caramel, sprinkle a few pecans on top and you have a treat that can't be beat.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons water, 2 cups chocolate chips, divided, 2 eggs, slightly beaten, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 25 caramels, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 cup pecan pieces.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Remove wrappers from caramels and set aside. In medium saucepan, place sugar, butter and water; cook over low heat, stirring ocnstantly, until mixture boils. Remove from heat; immediately add 1 cup chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; stir into chocolate mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. During the last 5 minutes of baking prepare caramel topping: in medium bowl, place butter, caramels and milk. Microwave at High for 1 minute; stir. Microwave additional 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

Remove pan from oven and immediately and carefully pour caramel topping over hot brownies. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and pecan pieces over topping. Cool completely on wire rack, being careful not to disturb chips while soft. Cut into bars.

Makes about 16 bars.

"Hershey's Chocolate Lover's Cookbook", Brimar Publishing Inc., Montreal, Canada, 1993.

Cookies Rule!!!

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