When I presented these cookie bars to my friends as a going away treat before returning back to Southampton for my PhD, I was told by the husband of one of my gang friends that I should patent it and make it my business. That wow’d me a bit. He said that, because when they asked me what it was, I wasn’t even sure myself how to call this last-minute crazy creation. I think a brief description of what I was trying to give went along the lines of “..this is a cookie pie with strawberry and milk chocolate chips, topped with dark chocolate ganache and filled with caramel and cut into bars”. In essence ultimately I called these Strawberry and Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie bars with Caramel Filling.
Let’s start with the obvious first question here; Where on earth did I find Strawberry Chocolate Chips. Well as strange as it may sound I actually discovered these in a big groceries store in Cyprus and to my amazement they were made by a local producer. I thought go Cyprus! Now that’s something I never laid eyes on before, never heard of and yet found it home, where I mostly struggle to find simple things for my bakes.
I think at first I was ecstatic because these chips where pink and then I tasted them and was rather surprisingly amazed because they were delicious. I don’t normally tend to like things made of strawberries even if strawberries are my favourite fruit, yet these chocolate chips I loved. I baked them first in a cake before I decide to make these cookie bars and the flavour in that cake was quite radiant.
The birth of this dessert came primarily from me wanting to use the strawberry chips again and the desire to use caramel, which would pair well as a flavour. I was alternating between cupcakes, brownies and cookies and decided to go with cookie bars! So I thought chocolate chip cookie bars with caramel in the centre and a chocolate ganache on the top to kind of make this an over the top creation and to maybe try and cut back on that sweetness with the addition of dark chocolate.
The caramel I made myself and will include the recipe for it. It is rather on the very thick side and I was aiming for something like that, just because I wanted to avoid it being runny or gooey. You don’t have to make it yourselves, you can purchase a store bought caramel or boil the tins of sweetened condensed milk to make it. On my side of things I wanted to start experimenting with caramel as a first step in creating a good caramel sauce/spread. When I make my favourite I will share it with you.
There are three things you need to be aware of for this recipe:
- The cookie dough
- The caramel
- The chocolate ganache
Two out of three you definitely need to make yourselves and that’s the lovely dough you see above and the chocolate ganache that goes on top of the baked pie as you see below.
Here, we have four layers starting with the cookie pie, topped with the caramel, topped with more cookie pie and finished with the chocolate ganache.
A few things to take a note off for avoiding any kind of mess.
- Refrigerate your cookie pie before you spread with the caramel.
- Warm up your caramel before topping the cookie pie to allow for a smoother spreading and then refrigerate before topping with more cookie dough.
- Let the cookie pie cool before you top with the chocolate ganache and make the ganache at the last minute so it doesn’t thicken before you pour it on top of the pie.
- If, like me you want to cut the pie into cookie bars put the finished pie in the refrigerator until the ganache is completely set before cutting into squares. This will allow for cleaner cuts without anything spilling out.
- Finally, eat with care to avoid sugar overdose! These lil babies are wayyyy to sweet.
But they were highly praised and they were beautiful and delicious. There is a triple threat going on here with strawberry, chocolate and caramel flavour and an abundance of textures from the crunchy yet soft cookie bar, thick and chewy caramel and firm but moist ganache.
I think it’s safe to say that my first bake of the year did come out with a big bang and I truly hope that the next ones will be as scrumptious, inventive and delicious as this one. I wish that for me and I wish that for you.
I should take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year since this is my first post of 2018 and to hope that like me you all are one step closer to the next wonderful phase of your lives. No matter where you stand today, a new year brings you closer to where you want to stand tomorrow.
- 250 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup caster or granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 200 grams strawberry chocolate chips
- 200 grams milk chocolate chips
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 170 grams unsalted butter
- 250 ml condensed milk
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 50 ml whipping cream or double cream
- Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- With your standing mixer or an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugars until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light and creamy.
- Add the vanilla in the eggs and then one at a time the eggs in the butter mixture beating well after each addition.
- With your mixer on low speed add the flour little by little and lightly mix until incorporated in the dough.
- Finally add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute in the dough.
- Butter a 10 inch rectangle pan and cover with parchment paper.
- Divide your dough in two equal pieces, let one sit aside and the other arrange in the pan and refrigerate while you make the caramel.
- Add the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the condensed milk and let it come to a boil while stirring.
- Let the caramel boil for about 5 minutes while stirring continuously and until it thickens.
- Let it cool completely. It will thicken quite a lot as it cools.
- Spread the caramel over your half frozen cookie dough and arrange as evenly as possible. Freeze for an hour and then arrange the rest of the dough on top of the caramel.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cookie pie is set on top and the edges are brown.
- Let this cool for about 1 hour and then make and pour over the chocolate ganache.
- Break the chocolate in pieces and add it to a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream on the stove or in the microwave until it comes to a boil.
- Pour the cream on the chocolate, let sit for a minute and then stir to combine the two.
- If the chocolate has not completely melted, heat in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir again. Keep repeating this step until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the pie and smooth evenly on top.
- Let the cookie pie cool completely and then refrigerate before cutting into bars.