A wallflower of a cookie bar…Caramel crumb bars

The caramel crumb bar is hum drum in appearance, ordinary, even a little dry, definitely not the first to go from a platter of assorted cookies.  But once tasted, it will surprise you into another bite and lure you back for seconds and very probably thirds and fourths.  It is that good.  And even better, that easy, that freezable, plus that easy to make ahead and put in the fridge for a few days.  It is quite perfect.  It is from a much loved Nick Malgieri cookbook.

Print Recipe
Caramel Crumb Bars
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment (leaving an overhang so you can lift the bars out) and spray again with cooking spray.
  2. With electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer 3/4 of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Refrigerate this while you make the filling.
  3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 – 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Use the foil (or parchment) to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.
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