“Payday Cookie Bars”

Is there a happier word than payday?…. Okay, maybe “weekend”.  These bar cookies are a bit like a payday candy bar. They are salty and sweet.

I love salty/sweet. Yin and Yang, Lucy and Desi, Tom and Jerry, opposites are good, no?

Have you noticed there seems to be a lot of salty/sweet recipes these days? If you like salty/sweet treats, this is your recipe. I adapted this recipe slightly from a cookie recipe found in the cookbook: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle. I made this recipe once a couple of years ago and brought them to work. People asked, what are those things? [in a good way]. I needed a favor from a co-worker and I told her I would make her ANYTHING SHE WANTED for a favor and this is the cookie she chose, so there ‘ya go. The next time you are craving something salty/sweet

(or you need to bribe someone) give these a try. 😉

Payday Cookie Bars

recipe adapted from “crunchy peanut bars” in  The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle

Crust 

1   1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar

Peanut topping

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

2/3 C light corn syrup

1   2/3 Cups (10 oz.) peanut butter chips

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2   1/4 Cups (12 oz.) salted “party” peanuts

Caramel drizzle

20 Kraft caramels; unwrapped

1 Tbsp. heavy cream

fleur de sel (sea salt)

Make the crust:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by lining the pan in both directions with double thickness aluminum foil; allowing about 2 inches of overhang on each end.  Lightly spray the foil with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. At low-speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until crumbly, 10-15 seconds.

4. Pat the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough well with a fork. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the topping. Leave the oven on.

Make the topping:

5. In a large saucepan,, combine the butter, corn syrup, and peanut butter chips and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

6. Pour the topping over the crust, using a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the peanuts evenly over the topping, and press them lightly into the topping. Bake the bars for 18-25 minutes, until the topping is bubbly. Cool the bars completely in the pan on a wire rack.

7. Lift out the bars from the pan in one whole piece and carefully peel off the foil. *Make the caramel drizzle as below.  Drizzle the caramel over the bars in a diagonal pattern. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into bars.

*Caramel drizzle:

1. In a medium nonstick saucepan on low heat combine the caramels and the heavy cream until melted. Save the fleur de sel to sprinkle over the bars once you drizzle the caramel.

 

Happy Baking,

Suzie


S’mores with Salted Caramel and Ganache

I love not camping.

Please don’t send me hate mail. It’s just not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a nature hater, I just don’t fancy sleeping in a small bag for more than 48 hours. The Husband and I have an agreement. I will camp for 3 days max and then I need a hotel. Or a motel. You see, I prefer to take a shower without bugs dangling from a shower head. Call me crazy. Maybe if I was one of those kids that camped when I was growing up it would make a difference.

Or not.

There are some things about camping that I do love. I like meeting new people and the easy conversation that you usually find in people who camp. A total stranger will loan you almost anything you forgot to bring. I love that. I wish people could be like this all the time.

I dig the whole fire thing.  It brings out my primal side.  I dig sipping a good Merlot while watching the fire. Okay, that part may not be exactly primal, but I do love grilling or cooking over the fire and of course, MAKING S’MORES.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly the camping type.

The Husband is total camping type. Like hard core camping. Like camping in Death Valley in the dead of spring in 115 degree heat camping. Yeah….that’s a story for another time. The marriage survived that one some how.

The Husband caught me making home-made marshmallows in preparation for our camping trip once. He thought I was a little crazy.

Husband: “Uh, honey, what are you doing???”

Me: “Making marshmallows” “We need to have stuff for s’mores”.

Husband: “Why do we need s’mores?” (we’ll cut him some slack on this- he grew up in Taiwan, and s’mores are not exactly part of his childhood).

Me: “Because….it’s like camping law. You just don’t go camping without s’more product.  You need to have marshmallows if you go camping”.

Husband: “Yeah, that’s why they have Safeway”. “You buy them”.

Never go camping with a pastry chef.

This recipe for home-made marshmallows is from Alton Brown from “Good Eats” and it is tried and true. I have made it several times.

Enjoy!

Suzie

Home-made marshmallows (Recipe by Alton Brown)

Ingredients

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Directions

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares. {Alton says to use a pizza wheel, but I actually like to use kitchen scissors and cut long strips and then cut into squares of your choice}. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

S’more assembly~

graham crackers or cookies of your choice {I found these really groovy cookies the other day that are vanilla and chocolate swirl and thought they were kinda cool.}

• marshmallows

• salted caramel

• chocolate ganache

• fire/flame/blowtorch {your choice} personally I like the blow torch- silly pastry chefs!

Toast your mallow. Set aside. Smear one cookie/cracker with about 1 tsp. of caramel. Smear one cookie/cracker with 1 tsp. of ganache. Place the toasted mallow on top of the caramel cookie {It’s easier to assemble this way} then top with the other cookie.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15WhmresdDnJn8Re04-IadSDAnXTpyxKr117Iep5vaQI/edit?hl=en_US