Espresso Caramel Bars

valentines day is coming up. you could buy a lame card and try to be sentimental.  but don’t do that, don’t be that girl.  or buy a stuffed teddy bear, like the hallmark store is suggesting….always a bad idea. or buy a box of chocolates that is filled with some that you don’t even like.  if i were you i would make these homemade treats. valentines day is one of the few holidays that you can make your own gifts.  try these candies that resemble twix bars…

Espresso Caramel Bars

Crust:

  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 12 whole (6 ounces) cinnamon graham crackers, crumbled or 2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted

Caramel:

  • bag of soft caramel candies

Chocolate Layer:

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder

For the crust:

position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment or waxed paper. spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray. in a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar. process until the 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.

For the caramel:

unwrap the candies and place in a microwave safe bowl.  microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir in between until fully melted. freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

For the chocolate layer:

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, about 3 minutes. whisk in the espresso powder. remove the springform 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. release the side of the pan and remove the paper from the bottom. cut into 1 1/2 by 1/2-inch bars and store airtight in a covered plastic container.

even if you don’t make these, just promise me you won’t be that girl.

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