Friday, November 8, 2013

Caramel and chocolate bars and turning things interesting for adults

Caramel and chocolate bars / Barrinhas de caramelo e chocolate

Long ago, many years before vampires were “in” (or were turned into creatures that walk around in broad day light), a very respected filmmaker made a masterpiece out of Bram Stoker’s book, and my favorite actor set the bar high for anyone else ever to play a vampire again.

Little over twenty years later a very interesting movie trailer gets released, in which Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play vampires – apparently dark ones, nothing covered in glitter, thank heavens. :D Both of them look absolutely amazing in Only Lovers Left Alive and now I cannot wait to watch the movie. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to match Gary Oldman playing a vampire, but I really believe that Tilda and Hiddles can seriously make those creatures of the night interesting again for us, adults. :)

I’m not a spokesperson for super healthy food – I do buy and eat processed food sometimes, and I am sure you remember my baked goods filled with chopped Oreos and Snickers. :) However, candy bars are not my cup of tea: I often find them too sweet, even the ones I used to love as a kid. Bill Granger’s bars, with layers of cookie, caramel and chocolate, are a great way to turn a certain candy bar interesting for us, adults – and the salt sprinkled on top makes all the difference in these addictive little morsels of deliciousness. :D

Caramel and chocolate bars
slightly adapted from the delicious and beautiful Holiday (I bought mine here)

125g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (90g) sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
125g unsalted butter, melted

100g unsalted butter
100g brown sugar
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g dark chocolate – I used one with 53% cocoa solids
flaked sea salt, to taste (I used Maldon as suggested by Bill)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20x30cm (12x8in) baking pan, line it with foil leaving an overhand in two opposite sides, then butter the foil as well.
Crust: in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, coconut, sugar and melted butter and mix until a dough forms. Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
While the base is in the oven, prepare the filling by placing all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Cook over a low heat while stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, constantly stirring, until it has turned a light golden color. Pour this evenly over the cooked base and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool completely over a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Once melted, pour onto the caramel and spread evenly. Allow the chocolate to set before sprinkling over the sea salt. Cut into squares or bars.

Makes 24


Dina said...

they look really yummy!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I adore these!

Anonymous said...

I've tried out this recipe and I must say: these are really delicious! They made a wonderful kind-of-birthday-cake! I served one larger piece with candles and little bars gathered around and it was awesome :-) Wonderful idea, sprinkling the chocolate with salt, by the way.
But I'm not really sure if they turned out the way they're supposed to... The following weird things happened: after baking the crust I poured over all of the 'caramel' - it as very fluid, not at all viscous, although I cooked it about 10 min. So the fluid soaked all the way through the crust and, to make things worse, disintegrated parts of the crust. Anyway, I baked it and the caramel finally went solid. To my surprise the crust stayed in most parts crispy at the bottom, which is good, but caramel and crust are not in layers as I expected them to be.
So here are my questions:
1st) Which is the desired condition of the caramel after cooking and before pouring onto the crust?
2nd) Which ingredient can substitute for corn syrup? As far as I know one can't find corn syrup in german supermarkets. I used maple syrup, maybe this was a (the) problem?
3rd) Are the three layers of the bars supposed to be separate?
Thanks so much and greetings from germany! Sina

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi Sina!
I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, but too bad it didn't work properly. :(
The caramel after cooking is a bit thicker than the condensed milk, not much. I believe the maple syrup may have been responsible for changing the texture, since corn syrup is basically pure sugar and it behaves differently when cooked and baked. Yes, the layers are supposed to be separated (take a look at the photo, I think it's possible to see that). I hope it works next time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patricia!
Thanks so much for your reply - yes, I think maple syrup was not a very good choice... I'll try the recipe again another time. The taste was perfect anyway :-)
All the best - Sina

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

I've made these bars a few times, most recently last week. They are the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

They are so good that when I asked my husband to bring some of the recent batch to work he said that he didn't want to share them. That is high praise indeed.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing such wonderful recipes. You're the best!



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