Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

When it comes to technology, I'm somewhat of an enigma.  At work, my job and therefore my livelihood depends on me being able to learn new programs and create business solutions.  I’m pretty much a stone cold bad ass with Microsoft Excel.

But when it comes to anything popular, hip or “current” in the wild world of technology, I’m freaking pathetic.  I don’t tweet.  Facebook borderline frightens me because I’m convinced my computer will start posting things that I’m doing without my knowledge.  Actually that happened once- all of a sudden it started posting everything I was reading on and I had to have my husband turn it off for me.  For a few days, the entire world knew that I read 10,000 articles about why America is still fat.  Gee, whatever could the problem be?  I’m a food blogger who specifically googles “paula deen” before whatever recipe I’m is looking for, and I have legitimately scrapped recipes that call for low fat cream cheese or margarine.  I should go hang my head in shame- I’m the freaking problem.

Ok- I’m completely off track at this point.  Here’s the point: technology frightens me.  And for that reason, I avoided this “pinterest” thing that everyone had been telling me that I needed to get into.  I didn’t understand it.  It’s new and different and that frightens me.  And to add insult to injury, you have to “request” to be “invited” to this damn thing.  Really?  It’s like middle school all over again- pinterest is the cool kids party, and little miss goodie-two-shoes-who-brings-cupcakes-to-teacher isn’t invited.

Well apparently one of my equally goodie two shoed friends somehow got invited to the party, and started showing me all the amazingly delicious recipes she was pinning.  So despite my many “I WILL NOT PINTEREST” rants, I sheepishly asked for an invite and spent the last week going through my bookmarks and creating recipe boards.  This is going nowhere good. 

So pretty much from this point on, I can ditch the lengthy stories prior to my recipes and replace them with one sentence that will describe all of my future baking endeavors: “I found this on pinterest and it had to be in my belly.”

I found this on pinterest and it had to be in my belly.  Peanut butter caramel chocolate chip bar time.    

Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars


Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 ¼  cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Caramel-Peanut Butter
½ cup Evaporated Milk
60 whole caramels, Unwrapped
½ cup peanut butter, melted
1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat oven to 375° F and grease 9 x 13-inch pan.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread half of cookie dough into prepared pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with ½ cup evaporated milk.

When melted and combined, add ½ cup melted peanut butter and pour over cookie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.

Turn out remaining cookie dough on work surface.  Spray your hands with cooking spray.  Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and edges are set. Cool in pan on wire rack. 

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