Nothing Succeeds Like Excess: Layered Chocolate and Caramel Fudge Chip Squares

Since I baked a batch of faux-reo cookies last week to use for the chocolate cookie crust in the Baked Explorations Mississippi Mud Pie (A)/Coffee Ice Cream Tart, I wanted to find a baking project that could make use of my remaining chocolate cookie supply.  After making the Mississippi Mud Pie, I still had an entire gallon Ziploc bag full of faux-reos, and while they are actually remarkably tasty even without any cream filling, I didn't think it would be a good idea for me and my husband to simply consume them all.  I remembered that Lisa Yockelson's book ChocolateChocolate contains several recipes that include a chocolate cookie crust, none of which I've tried.  Since I coincidentally also had some Milky Way Midnight bars on hand, Yockelson's recipe for "Layered Chocolate and Caramel Fudge Chip Squares" was an easy choice.

These bars are truly decadent.  They have a chocolate cookie crust (melted butter, miniature chocolate chips, and chocolate cookie crumbs -- Yockelson specifies Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers) that is briefly baked and cooled, and then topped with a very fudgy brownie-like batter (cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, butter, unsweetened chocolate, eggs, sugar, vanilla, miniature chocolate chips, and chopped Milky Way Midnight bars).  The recipe suggests that you can either mix in all of the chocolate chips and chopped candy bars into the chocolate fudge chip batter, or mix in only half of each and reserve the other half to sprinkle on top of the bars 5 minutes before the baking time is up.  I chose the latter option.

The recipe is written to be baked in a 9-inch by 9-inch pan.  I made a batch and a half and baked it in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, so the baking time should have required almost no adjustment from the recipe's specified baking time of 35 minutes.  Thus, I pulled my pan out of the oven after 30 minutes to sprinkle on my reserved mini chocolate chips and Milky Way Midnight chunks.  But the brownies were nowhere near done baking at 35 minutes.  I had to bake the bars for an hour total, so the Milky Way chunks on top were toasted to a light brown color by the time they were done.  I was worried that I had really screwed something up and possibly completely burned the bottom crust by keeping the bars in the oven so long, but I crossed my fingers as I cooled and chilled the bars.

I'm glad I chilled the bars overnight before cutting them, because they were so fudgy that I think it otherwise would have been impossible to cut them cleanly.  I was relieved when I tried a bar and discovered that it was ultracreamy, deeply chocolately, and quite delicious.  I thought that the cookie crust added quite a bit to these bars -- while the crust was not as crunchy as I might have hoped, you could definitely taste the toasted (but thankfully not burned) chocolate flavor from the cookie crumbs.  And the best part?  Those Milky Way Midnight bars on top with caramel and nougat that took on an amazing chewy-crunchy texture during the last 30 minutes of baking. 

I feel there is something borderline sinful about these bars; they are so incredibly excessive... not just chocolate cookies, but also a superfudgy brownie, and then chocolate chips and candy bars to boot!  But once you get past the guilt, they are undeniably good. 

Recipe: "Layered Chocolate and Caramel Fudge Chip Squares" from ChocolateChocolate by Lisa Yockelson.

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Suelle said…
For once I'm gratefult that you don't write out the recipes! I wouldn't be able to resist these, but know that I should! LOL!
Bourbonnatrix said…
that looks totally over the top! sounds delectable!