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Deliciously Organic: Chocolate Caramel Bars

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Bars

A few weeks ago my husband bought me a camera and I've had such a blast figuring out how to use it.  The camera came with one rule that I had to agree to before the purchase; if he bought it for me, I would NEVER ask him to carry it around.  Can you tell he's not much of a camera guy?  What's funny is he married into a family that's full of shutterbugs.  My Dad will casually shoot a few hundred photographs at a normal family gathering.  My brother Luke has a video production company so he pulls out the cameras also . . . Let's just say that our last family vacation was incredibly well documented.  I think we had over 1000 pictures. 

When Pete and I got married, he was stunned at the fact that there was always a camera around (I've had to plead with to him to be in at least one picture in my upcoming cookbook!)  Years ago he would make comments like, "Doesn't it bug you that there's always a camera out at family gatherings?"  I hadn't really noticed.  Last year my Dad gave my brothers and I DVDs of all of our family videos (there were 81!).  We were watching one late one night and there I was, about 8 years old, dancing in the living room with my two brothers being filmed with a HUGE umbrella light in the corner.  When Pete saw it he said, "Oh my gosh, now I get it!  You don't even notice the cameras because you were constantly being filmed and photographed as a kid!"  Yeah, I guess that pretty much explains it.

Since I received my camera, I've read tutorial after tutorial and can't wait to cook something new, throw it on the table and see what kind of pictures I can come up with.  I've called my brother and he's given me some quick tutorials and we've been bonding over things like aperture and f/stops.  Each day, I kiss my husband good-bye, get the kids off to school, and quickly pull out my tripod, camera and some food . . . it's like an addiction, I just can't get enough.  The timing of all of this is quite humorous given the fact that I have more to do in the next 5 weeks then I can possibly handle.  I guess the camera is providing an outlet during this insanely busy time in our family.

I was going to wait until December to share this recipe with you, but I just couldn't.  I found it in a Martha Stewart magazine the other day and thought for sure I could change up the ingredients a bit using whole wheat flour and such.  The end product is a recipe I'll be using at the holidays for many years to come.  A batch of these would be perfect to make for that first evening you have family in for the holidays or to bring as a hostess gift.  They're best when made the day before so they can sit overnight in the fridge.

Chocolate Caramel Bars
Adapted from "Martha Stewart Living" magazine. 
Yields 16

3 tablespoons organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 1 /2 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons

10 ounces dark organic chocolate (I like Green and Blacks)
1 1/2 cups organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 x 8-inch square pan with unbleached parchment paper. Leave an overhang on all sides. Lightly butter the parchment inside the pan and then set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together whole cane sugar, maple syrup, flour and salt to combine. Add butter and process until dough begins to come together. Pour dough out onto pan and press evenly into pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Place chocolate in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat whole cane sugar and water over medium heat.  Simmer until it reads 220°F on a candy thermometer, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add the butter, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put saucepan back over heat and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture over chocolate and let mixture sit for 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth and then pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate overnight. To serve carefully lift up on the parchment paper to release the bars from the pan. Cut bars using a knife dipped in hot water and then quickly dried. Sprinkle with sea salt. These bars can be kept in the fridge for at least 3 days.


Blogger Tangled Noodle said...

Congratulations on your new camera and you've chosen such a perfectly delicious subject! These Chocolate Caramels Bars are driving me crazy with craving.

Ever since I started my blog, I've had no problems whipping out the camera - just a standard point 'n' shoot - to snap a dish (I even built a makeshift lightbox). But it never occurs to me to take photos of ourselves or relatives at family gatherings! Maybe we should dress up as food . . . ! 8-D

November 19, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

I saw those in the magazine and thought about making them too - so yummy! Coming by from SITS to say hi!

November 19, 2009 at 5:45 AM  
Blogger Divina Pe said...

Thats a great photo you took with the Caramels and they're quite addicting just by looking at it. :D

November 19, 2009 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger Chocolate Shavings said...

Those chocolate bars are absolutely gorgeous, great job!

November 19, 2009 at 5:53 AM  
Anonymous lisaiscooking said...

These look amazing! Your changes to the recipe sound fantastic too. Can't wait to try these!

November 19, 2009 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

I felt the same way when I got my Nikon!! I now have completely dominated our spare room with lights on tripods, table space, set up all for food photography! These bars look insanely good!

November 19, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger VegeCooking Club said...

Congrats on your new camera!!! It takes a beautiful photo! Any plans on selling the old one? :)

November 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Tia said...

beautiful. what subs do you think you could use for that 1.5 c dehydrated sugar?

November 19, 2009 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

The original recipe called for white sugar. I always use rapadura in it's place b/c it is the least processed of any sugar out on the market. Hope that helps!

November 20, 2009 at 4:22 AM  
Blogger ~The Neaves Nest~ said...

what kind of camera do you have??

81 videos!! WOW! I thought my grandma documented everything. She gave us videos from the time we were born until about 5. We are still waiting on the rest. Now I'm curious just how many she has of us. It's so fun to look back :)

I am definitely making these over the holidays!

November 20, 2009 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

I got the Canon Rebel xti. I won't be selling the old one b/c now it will be used for trips and everyday stuff with the kids. Sorry! :)

November 20, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Corrine said...

Gorgeous photos. These bars look like something that I should make and share with my family on Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2009 at 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

These chocolate caramel bars look absolutely mouth-watering. I think this is what I might make to take to my grandparents house for Christmas Eve. Though I don't think anyone loves chocolate as much as I do.

November 21, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger TeaLady said...

AAHHH!!!! THose look heavenly

November 21, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

those look so good! makes me hungary. thank you for posting them. keep up the great work that you have been doing. I am so glad that I came across your blog. visiting from sits.

November 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger sugarxnspice said...

How is the texture of the chocolate caramel bars like? I'm thinking of making them for a party next week, thank you for sharing! :)

November 21, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Claire said...

I just got that camera too! Your pictures look great and yum, those caramel bars look divine!

November 21, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

The texture of the caramel/chocolate is thick and smooth...a bit chewy, but not enough to get stuck in your teeth! :)

November 22, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Wow, you had me at Caramel! These bars are pretty perfect to me, I love salty-sweet combos, chocolate, caramel and any kind of bar cookie :o)

November 23, 2009 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi! I made these tonight- hard to wait until morning for them to set up! One thing I noticed- when do I add the 2nd 6Tbsp of butter? I just added it at the point where I add the cream and salt to the rapadura/water mixture, but wasn't too sure. I'm sure they'll still turn out great. Thanks!

November 24, 2009 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Hey Lezlee, Thanks for catching that! Yes, you add the butter in with the cream and salt. I went ahead and made the change in the directions. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just had to add another comment now that I've tried them. Oh. my. goodness. These are fantastic! I brought them to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and everyone loves them! So rich and yummy. Funny, though, that most of them feel like they can only eat a tiny bit at a time and that's all they need. I, on the other hand, can eat more than one in a sitting. Hmmmm, I think I have a chocolate problem!

November 27, 2009 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Oh, boy!!! I don't have any experience cooking organic, but this looks soooo amazing.

November 28, 2009 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Sophie said...

Oooh waw,...these lovely treats look so delightful: FABULOUS!!!!!


November 29, 2009 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

These look delicious! These are on my list to try. Great job with the new camera.
Quick Question: What's the difference between soft wheat flour and regular?

December 3, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Soft wheat, otherwise known as pastry flour, has less protein than regular whole wheat flour or "hard" wheat flour. Soft wheat is ideal for cakes, cookies, etc. b/c it produces a tender crumb and has a sweet taste. Hard wheat flour has more protein and gluten and is best for baking has a very "wheaty" taste to it. Hope that helps!

December 5, 2009 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger creampuff said...

These are just gorgeous, Carrie! And the pic is amazing ... looks like the new camera suits you!

December 28, 2009 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jannett said...

Outstanding photo. :)

December 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

YUM! And GREAT photo. I love your site. Seriously, LOVE IT. I recently watched the documentary "The Future of Food", and I now really want to know more about organic foods. So I'm really glad I found you through SITS.

Happy SITS Saturday sharefest!

February 6, 2010 at 6:39 AM  

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