Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD - Caramel Crunch Bars















This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick was Caramel Crunch Bars, selected just for us by Whitney of What's Left on the Table? These delightful treats have a base that's shortbread amped up with the addition of espresso powder and chopped chocolate.


Dorie warned that it would be a little sticky and hard to ease into an even layer for the crust. I found it easiest to use a knife to do this step.

The base is baked for 20-22 minutes (mine went the full 22, and I think it could have benefitted from another minute or two). 
















You pull it out of the oven, turn off the oven and scatter 6 ounces 7 1/2 ounces (hey, I chopped too much!) of chopped bittersweet chocolate on the top and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to let the residual heat melt the chocolate. 
















The chocolate is then spread evenly (in a perfect world, which isn't where I live) over the base. Heath bits are then scattered over the top and lightly pressed into the chocolate so they don't fall off when picked up. Foolproof, right?

Umm, not for me. I went to a couple of stores to find Heath bits, and I must have gotten a package that travelled to California on horseback, because it was basically a bag of dust with some pieces of toffee. Caitlin of Engineer Baker suggested making Paula Deen's English Toffee recipe in the P&Q, and I wished I had done that. Unfortunately, I was finishing this up at 9:30 on a Sunday night, and that's not my golden hour so I was rushing to get the #%@#* thing done so I could GO TO BED. So instead of dumping out the whole bag of Heath bits on a plate and picking through to get the usable pieces, handfuls of the contents of the bag, dust and all, were thrown on the melted chocolate. I then resolved to make the recipe again and use the toffee recipe and produce a beautiful result I could be proud of.

Was I dreaming?!? In what parallel universe would I have time to redo this dessert this week, nay, on Monday? I do work and Monday night I had my P.E.O. meeting, from which I would likely get home at 10:00, the hour at which I turn into a pumpkin. So, inspired by Carol Blymire (who is cooking through the Alinea cookbook and blogging about it; Alinea's chef, Grant Achatz creates odd sounding but tasty combinations that sometimes use powders of foods in combination with other ingredients), I decided I would embrace my powder-topped creation.

In that spirit, I present to you...

Caramel Crunch Bars, Powdered


They were pretty yummy, aesthetics aside. I didn't want to risk having even a pint of ice cream around to test drive Dorie's playing around suggestion of ice cream sandwiches, so I'll leave that one for my TWD buddies.

If you're not aching to create something suitable for people to travel from long distances to taste and pay hundreds of dollars for (and I certainly wasn't, because I have nowhere for them to sit), I suggest you either a) pick through your bag of toffee bits, or b) follow Caitlin's suggestion and make your own toffee. It would take these bars to the next level. That's what I call raising the bar, ha ha! If you'd like the recipe, you can find it here.

19 comments:

natalia said...

Ciao ! They don't look bad at all !! I made the toffee but in the end these bars were too rich for me !!

Amanda said...

These look perfect, even with the toffee dust, nice job! Mine were a bit crisp, but still tasty :)

farah said...

These look great! Looking at your photos i never would have guessed about the powdered toffee bits. I'm glad you like them though :)

Sara said...

Aw, they still look good. I would have to assume that toffee dust taste just as good as toffee bits. (Also, I really like your tile backsplash)
Sara/Imafoodblog

chocolatechic said...

They don't look bad at all.

I could hardly get past your back splash to see your bars in the first photo.

I am so jealous.

pinkstripes said...

YUM! I loved these bars. I'm glad you did too.

Carol Blymire said...

They look delicious!

TeaLady said...

Powdered or not, these look really good. Nice job.

Megan said...

Rustic - that's what I'd call them. Delicious, too!

Jules Someone said...

They look really yummy. I certainly wouldn't turn one down.

Jill said...

I bet they taste just as good. You gotta wonder what those toffee bits went through on the way to the store!

Linda said...

toffee powder = molecular gastronomy --- regardless, your bars look delicious!

Teanna said...

Grant would be very proud! They look great!

TourGuideJenn said...

You are so funny! I like how you put a positive spin on something that clearly brought you down (if only for a moment). I'm worried about where you're buying your Heath bits, though. You wouldn't think that would be a problem. I think you just got a bad batch.

Love the tile on your backsplash, btw!

Anne said...

They look great! I'd love to see them with homemade toffee...yum!

Cathy said...

I'd eat one or two or ten of them, that's for sure. Toffee works for me in many forms. I think they look great!

Mary said...

I think the horse that carried your heath bits was carrying my bag to CT as well...they must be pretty crappy on quality control to send out dust-toffee bags :). I am jealous of your cool backsplash!

Gabe's Girl said...

I think it is amazing that you gave this a go with all you have on your plate! Great job, I mean it.

happytummy said...

powdered bits or not, those bars look fantastic!

and can i just say i LOVE the pix of the bars in front of your tiled backsplash? the colors of the tiles are amazing!!