Tuesdays With Dorie: Caramel Crunch Bars

February 24, 2009

Crust. I love most any kind of crust. This week’s recipe, Caramel Crunch Bars, have a buttery, sweet, crunchy crust with bits of chocolate in it, topped with more chocolate and a hearty dose of toffee bits.  Mmmmm. The recipe was selected by Whitney from What’s Left on the Table.  She’ll have the recipe on her blog, or better yet, look at page 112 of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.


What I did: The only change to the recipe is that I omitted the espresso powder. I was out and I was shocked and dismayed that my grocery store didn’t carry it.  But I moved on and just made the recipe without it.  

How it went:  I thought this would be a basic cookie crust, and then I saw in the instructions to bake the base until it’s “bubbly — so bubbly you can almost hear it percolating — and puckery.”  What? Lo and behold, that’s exactly what was going on in my oven when I took a peek.  This is no ordinary cookie crust.


I could have stopped there and eaten it.  But wait, there’s more!  This lovely crust gets covered in chocolate, goes back in the oven for a couple of minutes, and then after the chocolate is spread evenly, the toffee bits go on. OK, I’m glad I didn’t eat the plain crust.  I did have a little difficulty pressing the toffee bits into the chocolate because they were sticking to my hands, so next time I’d use some parchment or wax paper for pressing.

How it tasted:  Good!  Very buttery, and the chocolate and toffee on top was a great combo. It was hard not to grab one when I was walking through the kitchen. It was hard not to walk through the kitchen just to grab one. It was sad when they were gone. The book suggests using these for ice cream sandwiches. Call me picky, but that sounds messy! I think they’d be great crumbled on top of some vanilla ice cream, though. 

Would I make these again?:  Yes.  Next time I’d omit the cinnamon in the crust. Reading the recipe, it struck me as an odd ingredient in these bars. And after eating the bars, I have to say I just don’t get why they have cinnamon. Want to see what the other bakers thought?  Stop over at the TWD blog and check out the blogroll.



  1. I love you photographs !! I’m sorry but I’m too fat to enjoy this recipe !!I found it too rich !!

  2. I agree, next time…no cinnamon. The cookies look great!

  3. I had trouble with the ice cream sandwiches! Mine were delicious but very crisp. I ended up using a dark chocolate on the top and they still were all gobbled up. If I had used milk chocolate I don’t think they would have lasted until the next day!

  4. Look at how chock full o’toppings these are!? They look fantastic! I love any type of crust, too! My favorite… pizza crust. Which I don’t think would go too well with these bars.

  5. Look at how chock full o’toppings these are! They look fantastic! I love any type of crust, too! My favorite… pizza crust. Which I don’t think would go too well with these bars.

  6. Very well done, Jill! I’m sorry you missed the espresso though… kinda like the cherry on the sundae! LOL (Coffee flavored thingies lover, speaking! LOL)

    P.s.: When you do find the instant espresso, buy a big bottle and keep it in the freezer! Last long! (perhaps Wal-Mart would have it!)

  7. I love crust too.

    I only halved the espresso and made up for the other half with cinnamon.

    Great pictures.

  8. I left out the coffee too. Your bars look great and Im glad you liked them.

  9. Your bars look great! I could do without the cinnamon. Although the cinnamon didn’t detract from the treat you can’t really taste it so it is not really needed.

  10. I happen to like the cinnamon espresso combination – but I agree, you could easily leave it out. They look awesome!

  11. Your bars look wonderful. Great job!

  12. I’d probably skip the cinnamon too but I didn’t really notice it, just the BUTTER! Your bars look absolutely perfect. I’m glad mine are gone; they were calling pretty loudly to me!

  13. You might be right about the cinnamon – I think the flavor gets lost. But I might actually add more espresso – they were so sweet that a bit more coffee bitterness might help. Yours look great!

  14. Your bars look great. I’m glad you liked them!

  15. Those LOOK great! It’s a carbon copy photo of how I made mine. I liked the espresso /cinnamon combo too – gave it a nice kick. Nice job!

  16. I left out the coffee too. I also agree about the cinnamon. I’ll try it again without that. Yours look great!

  17. I didn’t really notice the cinnamon so I would probably leave it out next time too. Of course I’m sick so it may be that my taster isn’t working its best. Your bars look great Jill!

  18. Leave out the cinnamon next time? Actually, I bet these cookies would be good without any coffee or cinnamon, but I really like the cinnamon in them. I agree, these go on the must make again list!

  19. Your bars look awesome!

    I had the same problem, trying to find espresso powder for a muffin recipe a few months back. Of course, it was in the last place I looked!

    You did a great job on these bars!!!!

  20. Beautiful photos! I thought the base was the best part and agree you could stop there for a tasty bar cookie.

  21. Mmmm, yours look perfect!

    I thought the “percolating” dough was quite interesting, and unique. Also, I get the feeling Dorie likes the cinnamon and chocolate combination because it pops up regularly. I’m personally not crazy about that combo either.

  22. These look delicious! I had a problem with the bars sticking to my hands and getting shoved in my mouth.

  23. Definitely agree that these cookies are addictive — they are fantastic w. ice cream, so I hope you’ll give that a try. Great job on your bars!

  24. Very nice and very crunchy looking! 🙂

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