Do you ever have regrets? I know some people who are like, “I have no regrets. I just want to live my life with no regrets.”
And I am amazed because I don’t believe them. Now, come on, it’s a nice idea and all, but there is no possible way you’ve never done something regrettable, or caused someone else regret. Then you would be perfect and the Gospel wouldn’t be true, and I know that the Gospel is true (mostly because I know you’re not perfect? Haha, jokes. But it’s ok, me neither.).
What they are actually saying is, “Yeah, I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not going to dwell on them, because they’re already done, and it would cause me pain to think about them.”
Welp, hello regrets, I actually like you and your pain. Regrets mean that I am a regular person. Regrets mean that I have actually lived on the edge. And having real regrets makes me a wiser and more compassionate person. Every time I experience regret, it reminds me not to make the same mistakes. I’m all for living with regrets.
But I like being free of them. I’m not all about living with guilt, but that is a different story for a different day. For now, you will just have to forgive me for not using enough caramel in the following recipe of awesome.
Soapbox removed, commence baking.
First off, brown butter. Totally not regrettable.
Second off, chocolate chip cookie dough, with liberal chips. Also, highly unregrettable.
Then, caramel. This is where I am experiencing a little bit of remorse.I was trying to use up some leftover caramels, but I didn’t really have enough to make the texture/flavor stand out. Don’t get me wrong, it was still there, but if I’m stuffing cookies, I’m all about go big or go home.
Double your caramel. I didn’t. I had regrets.
Next, liberal sea salt, of the flaky variety. No scruples to be had.
Then bake at 325 and pose away. I got a little carried away, I’ll admit. But they were so photogenic, I couldn’t resist.
Stacked in towers.
Wrapped in parchment.
This is one for the books, guys.
Free from regret,
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, browned
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
6 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped (or more, mine was skimpy)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Kosher salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up the bits on the bottom until the butter is amber-colored and smells nutty. Set this aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Mix together the cooled browned butter and sugars until well-combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds for about 2 minutes total.
Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour the hot caramel over the cookie dough and spread evenly with a spatula, leaving some empty space around the edges. Sprinkle the caramel with the kosher salt, then drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently press in the rest of the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional salt.
Bake the cookie bars for 25 minutes, or until the bars are light golden, but don’t overbake. Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Leftovers will keep in at room temperature.