Since my oven is still on the fritz, I decided to be as productive as ever today: hanging out with Opie & her Boy usually is one of my favourite things to do, but we don’t really get much done while lounging around. Yet, I managed to finagle them into baking cookies with mer. Correction: her Boy baked with me, while Opie was a true trooper and went on a journey to find us lots and lots of creamy caramel candies!
I found this recipe online at Baking Bites, and it made my mouth water. What could possibly top a shortbread-like crust, topped off with caramel and coconut goodness? This recipe was super easy, especially since it made bars instead of cookies, which eliminated the process of rolling and cutting out round cookies.
After some deliberation, the only change I made to the recipe was to add toasted sliced almonds because I absolutely looove toasted almonds. Her Boy, however, decided it wasn’t caramel-y enough for him, so we added more on top – something that makes these bars very over-the-top and decadent , and should only be done for those who have a SERIOUS sweet tooth.
So without further ado, I present to our KnockOut knock-off girl scout cookie bars!
Adapted from Baking Bites
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the topping:
- 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp milk
- 10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
- Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping
- While the crust is baking, you can now toast the coconut. You can either do that in the oven, alongside with the crust, or you can dry toast it in a pan on the stove on medium high heat. Just make sure you are continuously stirring it while it is toasting, since they burn quite easily! Once done, remove immediately from the heat and pour coconut into a bowl.
- Repeat the same toasting process with the sliced almonds, and put them into a smaller separate bowl.
- Next, unwrap the caramel candies. Place them into a microwave safe bowl, add the milk and the salt. Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, always making sure to stir and mix the melting caramel with the milk. This will make sure that it won’t burn and that it will be velvety smooth.
- Pour melted caramel into the bowl with the coconut and mix well.
- Now, pour the caramel coconut mixture onto the crust and spread it out well. It’s very sticky, even if you’re using a spatula. I find that using a sheet of wax or parchment paper works very well. Just place it on top of the mix and use your hands to smooth it out.
- Next, put the chocolate into another microwave safe bowl, and melt it. Pour the mix into a ziploc bag, snip off the tip, and drizzle chocolate onto the topping. Sprinkle the almonds on top and finish off with a final drizzle of chocolate.
- And if you’re crazy like Opie’s Boy, drizzle more caramel on top
- Let everything cool down before cutting them into bars, and then prepare to enter a sugar high!