TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars – Two Ways

by Holly on February 24, 2009

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For Tuesdays with Dorie this week Whitney of What’s Left on the Table? chose the Caramel Crunch Bars.  I have had this one bookmarked since I got the book, but just never got around to making it.   Before I get into all that though, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Mardi Gras today!  I will be making a New Orleans inspired dinner tonight, complete (hopefully) with a homemade King Cake (barring any disasters throughout the day that is).  At least if I don’t get to make the King Cake, our friends can still munch on some of these delicious bars.
I know now that I will make this many more times.  It was easy and delicious.  It lends itself to lots of interpretation as you can see above.  The cookie base is buttery, with a dark, caramel-like flavor from the brown sugar.  I used good milk chocolate for my finely chopped chocolate in the cookie base and for the chocolate / toffee bit version above I used bittersweet chocolate and some milk chocolate on top (since the only toffee bits I could find were actually more like just broken up Heath candy bars instead of just the toffee).
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In the future, I will probably just make some toffee with nuts myself since I think that is way I would have really, really loved this.  Also, though the original recipe calls for espresso powder in the cookie base, since I don’t have any of that and never do, rather than leave it out, I decided to grind up about a teaspoon of cocoa nibs in a spice grinder and substitute that.  I scored some of the new cocoa nibs that local Utah Chocolatier, Art Pollard, is making over at Amano Artisan Chocolate. I love their chocolates and the fact that they are right here in our little State, so it was an extra special treat to use them.  They have several different varieties, but for my first go around I decided to use the Ocumare.
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For my ice cream filled variation on the caramel crunch bars I topped the cookie base with white chocolate and then sprinkled it with some of the cocoa nibs.  After the cookies were all set I sandwiched two cookies each with some Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream I made (I will be posting that recipe soon – promise!  It comes from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz). The ice cream was simple and so fun to make.  It was dreamy and refreshing to eat too and I know I will be making it again in the future.

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Be sure to check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else’s creations this week.  I am sure there are insane amounts of chocolate-y goodness running around out there to enjoy.  I am just grateful that I will still have a couple of these to nibble on while viewing.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

doughmesstic February 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

Seriously, Holly! Are you trying to KILL me?? These look amazing!

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Maggie February 24, 2009 at 12:39 pm

The sandwiches with the starwberry sour cream ice cream look fantastic!

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chocolatechic February 24, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Stunning.

We loved them.

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Amanda February 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm

If I had to vote for the best presentation, yours would win! I love the alterations! These look perfect, nice job! Mine were a bit crisp, but still tasty 🙂

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Natalie February 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

those sandwiches look great! it’s making me want to make that ice cream, like… NOW.

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Mary February 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Oh wow these look great!

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Em February 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Those look sooooo yummy!

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Maria February 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm

The bars look great!! Love the added ice cream!

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Jules Someone February 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm

These look spectacular. I would like some, please.

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Sweet as Coco February 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm

oh my! Yours looks GREAT!!! LOVE your ice cream sandwhich idea! I am making a sandwhich too. Yes, I said making. I should be posting but Im blog stalking instead…waiting for my ice cream to soften. lol. I may have to try the white chocolate next time.

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pinkstripes February 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Both versions of the bars look amazing. I especially love the ice cream one. I like the contrasting colors. Great job!!

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Melissa February 24, 2009 at 8:47 pm

The ice cream sandwich is so perfect! Well done.

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Deborah February 24, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Delicious! I want both versions!

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TeaLady February 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I would imagine the white chocolate was a completely different taste. i made cracker candy with it once and liked it a whole lot better than chocolate. Love all your bars. And with the ice cream — heavenly!!!

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steph- whisk/spoon February 24, 2009 at 9:59 pm

very nice work! happy mardi gras–enjoy the king cake!

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Kayte February 24, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Over the Top award! Seriously, you are such a creative genius over there each week…the photos are wonderful, too. Definitely want to be you when I grow up.

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somethingsweetbykaren February 25, 2009 at 2:33 am

i love those strawberry ones, they look beautiful. i like how these bars are open to so many variations.

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Tracey February 25, 2009 at 4:04 am

Both types look spectacular! Great job!

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Teanna February 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm

YES YES YES!!! LOVE the white chocolate and strawberry version!!!!

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Shari@Whisk: a food blog February 26, 2009 at 1:41 am

I love your variations and don’t know which one I would pick! Both please.

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kim February 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm

ooh, both kinds look amazing! love the white chocolate variation 🙂 they look so nice and thick, did you use a smaller pan?

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Stephanie February 27, 2009 at 3:07 am

I LOVE what you did with these!

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The Food Librarian February 27, 2009 at 4:36 am

Seriously crazy good looking!!! These look fantastic!

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Di February 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Mmm, both versions look delicious. I never would have thought to pair strawberry ice cream with these. I really like the idea of incorporating the nibs in these.

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Engineer Baker February 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Strawberry sour cream ice cream? *drool* I love how thick your cookies are!

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Jaime March 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

your bars look so perfect! i’ll take an ice cream sandwich please 🙂

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