Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD Caramel Crunch Bars

Posted by BAKE-EN at 4:05 PM

Whitney of What's left on the table? chose Caramel Crunch Bars as this week's TWD recipe. I made these delicious bars a while back and sandwiched them with ice cream. They were truly decadent. Today, I made a half batch knowing how addictingly good they would be. There's no sense in setting myself up to eat a 9x13 pan of these goodies.

One thing most people don't know about me is that though I am a pastry chef, I can't find a thing at the grocery store. Honestly, I used to know my way around a grocery store till I move to St. Helena. Anyone who's ever been to the Stop and Shop (or is it a Star market?) knows what I'm talking about. The butter is in the beer isle. THE BUTTER IS IN THE BEER ISLE!!!! That makes no sense at all, and one day I spent a good 15 minutes looking for butter! Once I finally got used to grocery stores in Northern California, we moved back to Boston, so here I am lost once again. The only place where I can get in and out quickly is Trader Joe's, and that's only because it's so small. All that being said, I decided that rather than spending an hour looking for Heath Toffee bits at the grocery store, I would be better off making toffee at home. I'm not sure where I got this recipe, but it's pretty good, and really easy. The only change I would make for next time is to cook it a little longer. I cooked the candy to 294F, but I think I should have gone up to at least 300F. After reading some recipes afterwards I discovered some people cook their toffee to as high as 310F. Here's the recipe I used:

½ # Butter

1 cup Sugar

1 Tbsp Corn Syrup

1 tsp Kosher Salt

3 Tbsp water

Method: Put it all in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir frequently and bring mixture to 300 degrees (see above). Pour onto a silpat and let harden.

This toffee recipe will make more than enough toffee for the caramel crunch bars (full size).

The recipe for the bars is super easy. Basic creaming method followed by vanilla extract then dry ingredients and chopped chocolate. I love that this recipe calls for instant espresso powder for two reasons. One is that the bitterness of the espresso powder balances the sweetness of the bar itself. Second I'm happy to be using one of the obscure items in my pantry.

These bars are very good. I think I prefer them sandwiching vanilla ice cream then on their own though. Next time I make them with the intention on serving them as bars, I will use less chocolate on top and I'll sprinkle some sea salt in addition to toffee on top of the bars.

15 comments on "TWD Caramel Crunch Bars"

steph- whisk/spoon on February 24, 2009 at 4:50 PM said...

yum! and homemade toffee to boot--too good!

Jules Someone on February 24, 2009 at 4:57 PM said...

The toffee looks delicious. I like the idea of adding sea salt.

Lillian on February 24, 2009 at 4:58 PM said...

Salt would be awesome on these! And next time I'm definitely going to have them with ice cream. (I probably won't make my own toffee, though -- very impressive!)

Pamela on February 24, 2009 at 5:09 PM said...

Your toffee looks scrumptious! Great job.

pinkstripes on February 24, 2009 at 5:39 PM said...

How funny. So true about a grocery store, I often have to ask where things are.

Your crunch bars look awesome. I love that you made your own toffee.

Tracey on February 24, 2009 at 7:08 PM said...

Wow, how great that you made your own toffee! Your bars look wonderful. They weren't my favorite but it seems that many others really enjoyed them!

Audrey on February 24, 2009 at 7:55 PM said...

Between the time I used to live here, and when I moved back, they re-arranged the Star Market (or is it Shaws now? I give up...) I keep heading to the right side for the produce and it's not there. :) Your cookies look wonderful.

karen on February 24, 2009 at 7:58 PM said...

yeah, why would the butter be in the beer isle?? :) maybe they try to keep the staples close by for one stop shopping? lol. your bars look really good. i too preferred them as ice cream sandwiches... straight from the freezer. mmm.

doughmesstic on February 24, 2009 at 9:23 PM said...

hmmm. this is where we differ. me? I make a trip out to find the toffee. if toffee is not to be found, I find a substitute, like, um, nuts. or candy bars. or leaves. you make your own toffee and think nothing of it.
what an amazing grown up you are. :)

Peggy on February 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM said...

I can't believe you make homemade toffee. I bet yours tasted fantastic. I bet the salt was interesting. Thanks for stopping by my blog this week!!

Karen on February 25, 2009 at 10:56 AM said...

mmmmmm homemade toffee! I am going to have to try that. Yours look delicious!

Stephanie on February 25, 2009 at 11:35 PM said...

I love that you made your own toffee!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook on February 26, 2009 at 7:51 PM said...

This makes my mouth water. I was surprised with your use of salt.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog on February 26, 2009 at 9:16 PM said...

And you made your own toffee -- it looks delicious. Your bars also turned out great and i agree about the ice cream. Also like your idea of using a bit of salt. . . cool.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you are just busy with other things, but wanted to tell you I missed your weekly postings and inspirations!

Hope all is well - thought you'd like to know someone is reading and notices when you aren't around.

Happy Baking!


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