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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cookie Recipe #241 - Marbled Caramel Chocolate Bars

Three kinds of chocolate swirled atop a layer of creamy caramel with a firm buttery base holding up the whole creation.

Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup butter, softened and cubed. Filling: 7 tablespoons butter, diced, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk. Topping: 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, 4 ounces milk chocolate, 2 ounces white chocolate.

Instructions: Prheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan; set aside. Put the flour and sugar in a bowl and rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Continue working until it forms a dough. Put the dough into the prepared pan and press it out evenly with your hand or the back of a tablespoon. Prick all over with a fork and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and very light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool while making filling.

Filling: Put the butter, brown sugar and condensed milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and butter has melted. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and turned a caramel color. Do not allow to burn; will ruin the flavor. Remove from heat.

Pour the filling mixture over the cookie base, spread evenly, then allow to cool (pop in the refrigerator for a few minutes).

Topping: Melt each type of chocolate separately in microwave or on top of the stove. Spread the melted semisweet chocolate lenghtwise over the caramel filling in 3 stripes, leaving a stripe in between each one to spread the melted milk chocolate. (You should have 5 stripes of chocolate; semisweet, milk, semisweet, milk, semisweet). Drop dollops of melted white chocolate randomly over the semisweet and milk chocolate. Using a toothpick or skewer, spread the white chocolate through the 2 other chocolates, using back and forth motions, lenghtwise and widthwise. This will give the bar a marlbed effect.

Allow for chocolate to set, then cut into bars and serve.

Makes about 24.

"The Cookie and Biscuit Bible", Hermes House, Anness Publishing Ltd., London, 2010.

Cookies Rule!!!

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