Want to have a little slice of chocolate caramel heaven? Then these espresso caramel bars from Giada de Laurentiis are just what you are looking for! I changed the recipe slightly and I found that her portion sizes were too big for me (yes, even for this chocolate lover!), so I cut the pieces into 1/2 inch squares and kept them in the refrigerator until right before serving. They are a really special treat and are the perfect ending to any meal!Print
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 9 whole graham crackers (1 packet) , crumbled
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- Chocolate Layer:
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or coffee
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, optional (I used Maldon Sea Salt)
- Special equipment: a candy thermometer
- For the crust: Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Lay parchment or waxed paper across one length of pan leaving an overhang. Repeat parchment on the opposite length of the pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar. Process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until the mixture forms into clumps. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing gently to form an even layer. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is golden. Cool for 15 minutes.
- For the caramel: While the crust is cooling, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of cream, butter, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240˚F, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour the caramel over the warm crust. Cool for 20 minutes. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
- For the chocolate layer: Combine the chocolate chips and cream in a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the espresso powder. Remove the pan from the freezer. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel layer and smooth with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
- While the dessert is still cold, use the paper overhangs to lift the dessert from the pan. Using a warm, slightly wet knife, carefully cut into 1/2 by 1/2-inch bars. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, if using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cooks Note: I made these on a very hot and humid day. They really needed to stay in the fridge until right before serving. Otherwise the chocolate slid off the caramel. They were delicious and a great sweet treat!