Today’s baking theme seems to be “looks good, tastes…just okay.” Granted, I have very high standards when it comes to flavor profiles, but I feel like there’s something missing from these salted caramel chocolate cookie bars, which I found over at Inside Bru Crew Life and adapted just slightly based on what I had on hand. The frosting is absolutely delicious, but the bars themselves need something more. The original recipe called for caramel-flavored coffee creamer in the dough and I just used milk, so perhaps that’s what’s missing?
In any case, this recipe makes a ton of frosting and you’ll have at least a cup or so left over. I suspect I’ll whip up some brownies and use the leftovers on them because I think that would be quite tasty. I’m also considering whether pecans or walnuts – toasted, of course, to really bring out their flavor – would make a nice addition. Stay tuned!
For the cookie base
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
For the frosting
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking tin with foil and spray with baking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and milk and beat to combine. Add flour mixture in two batches, beating well between each.
Press dough into the bottom of the baking tin to create an even layer; bake for 14 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, beat butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla, caramel sauce, and salt and continue to beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat on low, then medium speed, to fully incorporate the sugar into the butter mixture.
Spread frosting over bars and sprinkle lightly with additional kosher salt (if desired). Cut into 24 bars and store in an airtight container for 1-2 days.