COOKIE BARS WITH DRIED CHERRIES + SALTED CARAMEL + CHOCOLATE BARK
Happy Star Wars Day everyone! Have you seen the new Star Wars movie yet? Okay, technically it was released back in December but it’s comparatively new.
I liked Episode VII— it was a fun movie albeit somewhat safe. With a predictable storyline and a fair number of plot holes, it wasn’t anything revolutionary. However it stayed true to the original series so it still gets a thumbs up from me.
In honor of Star Wars Day, I made these “Chewy”bacca Bars. Get it? Chewie and chewy.
Does laughing at my own jokes make me a dork?
Oh well. If you can’t entertain yourself, who else will?
Anyway, these cookie bars live up to their name. They get their chew from plenty of oats, dried cherries and salted caramel. And for a nice bite, they’re topped with a layer of chocolate bark.
Like everyone’s favorite Wookie, they seem tough on the outside but are really just sweethearts.
I like using a nice semisweet chocolate for the topping. However if you’ve given into the the temptation of the dark side, go ahead and use the dark stuff. Find chocolate as dark as your soul, I won’t judge
Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th Be With You!
“CHEWY”BACCA COOKIE BARS WITH DRIED CHERRIES + SALTED CARAMEL
Author: Allspice & Ally
Recipe Type: Dessert
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Makes 12 squares
These Star Wars themed oat cookie bars are full of tart dried cherries and salted caramel. Plus they’re topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate bark. Like everyone’s favorite Wookie, they seem tough on the outside but are really just sweethearts.
Cookie Bar Ingredients
1 cup oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons 1% milk
(or 12 oz. store bought caramel sauce)
Chocolate Bark Ingredients
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
(or 1 cup melting chocolate)
- In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cook the sugar in an even layer.
- The sugar on the edges should start browning first. Drag it to the center of the pot with a wooden spoon or heat-safe spatula. This will allow the sugar to cook evenly so you don’t burn part of the sugar while waiting for the rest to caramelize. (Don’t worry, the sugar is supposed to smoke. When it starts to lightly smoke, it should be almost done.)
- Once the caramel has cooked to a golden brown, remove from heat. Mine usually takes about 6 minutes. Whisk in the butter. (Butter and milk will stop the caramel from cooking further.)
- After the butter has melted, slowly drizzle in warm milk and whisk. Be careful, the caramel will start to steam and bubble.
- Add sea salt to taste.
- Pour into a heat-safe glass jar and let cool. Refrigerate until ready for use.
Cookie Bar Instructions
- In a mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Pour in milk, applesauce, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract.
- Add dried cherries and coconut. Mix until combined.
- Using a spatula, press the batter into an even layer on a greased 6 X 9 inch pan.
- Bake at 30 minutes at 375°F.
- Cut into 12 squares and bake on a cookie tray for another 10 minutes. (This will crisp up the edges a little.)
- After cooking, arrange the cookie bars back into a rectangle. Top with a layer of salted caramel sauce.
- Microwave the chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil at 30% power until melted.
- Pour melted chocolate in an even layer on top of the caramel.
- Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens and then serve.
Pairs Well With
* If you’re going with the Star Wars theme, I’d recommend outlining Chewbacca in icing rather than powdered sugar. As you can tell, the powder sugar outline I made shifted and looked a little more like a storm trooper. Feeling ambitious? Use fondant.
* Make sure not to cook the caramel too long. Once the sugar takes on a burnt flavor, the caramel is not salvageable. Trust me, I’ve tried. All you can do is throw it out and make a new batch.
* I’ve tried an even brown sugar/white sugar split before but I prefer to make caramel with white sugar. It’s difficult to tell when the sugar has browned enough during the cooking process when using brown sugar.
* Cooking caramel isn’t a messy as you would think. Clean the pot as soon as the caramel is cooked. As long as they haven’t hardened, caramel remnants wash off without much effort.
* If you want a smoother layer of chocolate bark topping, double the amount of chocolate and pour a second layer after the first cools.
* Not an almond fan? Replace the almond extract with vanilla extract.
* To recreate the cookie bars photographed above for Star Wars Day, print out a silhouette of Chewbacca and cut it with a utility knife. Keep the paper outline intact and lay it over the cookie bars. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Gently remove the paper and dispose of the extra sugar. (Or save it for future use!)