I've always wanted to be a TV personality on the Food Network. It seems that having a variety of shows on the Food Network hasn't really been there. They are overrun with country-type cooking. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that and I love me some fried chicken, but something new and not overdone would be nice.
If I were able to have my own show, it would be similar to cooking channel's "Kelsey's Essentials". The concept of her show is something I've always wanted to do because it allows the host to delve into a variety of cuisines while giving tips along the way. There are many important steps in recipes that I find current hosts somewhat glaze over as non-important. However, for people beginning in the kitchen or for people that are making a dish for the first time, sometimes those tips are what saves the whole process. Ever had a grainy cheese sauce? Flat cookie? These are some of the things I would tackle because there are important steps to prevent them.
So, if I want a Food Network show based on giving fool-proof tips on this recipe what would I say? It all has to do with making the Salted Caramel Sauce, or any caramel sauce for that matter. I find that when recipes say to boil the sugar until it reaches a deep amber, DON'T! I've made caramel sauce many times and threw it all down the drain before figuring this out.
When the sugar reaches the deep amber color, it becomes extremely bitter and burnt tasting. If you like that, well, be my guest. Instead, boil the sugar until it just reaches a light amber color. You want it to have some color but not too much. When you've reached the light golden yellow color, you're almost there. Just give it another 30 sec or so and you'll be perfect. As you add in the cream, you will see as you whisk, your caramel will darken to the perfect color and flavor.
Recipe by Kelsey Nixon
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups Salted Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and softened butter in the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low until crumbly. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
Press half the crumb mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips, and chopped pecans over the cooled crust. Mix the salted caramel sauce, and flour together, and drizzle over the chocolate chips, and nuts. Top with the remaining crumb mixture.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Allow the pan to cool, and refrigerate it until the caramel filling is set. Cut into bars and serve.
Salted Caramel Sauce:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.
*Cook's Note: This recipe will last in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.