My mom, a high school teacher, has back to school night tonight and wanted to offer the parents some snacks and desserts. Since she worked all day, I decided to help her out by making a few desserts and preparing the snacks.
The other day I was watching Giada at Home and saw her make these espresso caramel bars. Though I’m not a chocolate fan, the dessert looked fantastic. After all, I’ve never made a Giada recipe that was anything but fabulous. In addition to the bars, I also made brown sugar cookies.
The bars were a success—not only did they taste delicious, but they also looked it.
The silky smooth chocolate beautifully complimented the slight crunchiness of the graham cracker crust. The caramel layer in the middle did not go unnoticed, however. Its rich and sweet flavor is simply scrumptious.
Vegetable cooking spray
12 whole (6 oz.) cinnamon graham crackers, crumbled
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tbsp. water
2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder (I used instant espresso coffee and ground the mixture into super fine particles in a small food processor)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, line the bottom of a 9-inch pan with parchment or waxed paper. Spray the paper and sides of the pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar. Process until 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.
While the crust is cooling, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of cream, butter, sugar, and water. 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 degrees F, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the caramel over the warm crust. Cool for 20 minutes. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
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. 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.
Allow the layers to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Using a warm, slightly wet knife, carefully cut around the edges of the chocolate layer. Cut bars into desired size and store airtight in a covered plastic container.
Recipe from Food Network.