Monday, August 10, 2015

A Pinterest recipe tried and tweaked: Trillionaire Bars

Photo from Creme de la Crumb
This past weekend I was looking for a new dessert recipe to take to our weekly potluck at church.  I went to my  Sweet Treats Pinterest Board and there found this one that I had everything on hand for: Trillionaire Bars from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.  These amazing bars have a brownie base, then a layer of caramel, then a layer of cookie dough (no eggs, so don't worry) and lastly a layer of chocolate.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to be a recipe tweaker.  It's actually very seldom that I make a recipe exactly as written, even the first time.  When I first looked at this, I thought I might try it as written.  As I got into the process, however,  I decided to change up a few things.  Tiffany's recipe is for a square pan, and I wanted to use a 13X9 to make more servings.  So the first change I made, to avoid doubling the brownie part, was to use my own favorite brownie recipe.

The brownie recipe is the best I’ve ever had. It came originally from my pastor’s wife, and I still want to give her credit for this great recipe even though I’ve changed a couple of things.

1 cup flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 scant cups sugar (I used about 1 1/3 cup)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl beat together the remaining ingredients. Sift in the flour mixture and stir it in thoroughly. (Some people will add 1 cup chocolate chips here.) Scrape into a greased 13x9” pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or just until done. Don’t overbake or you’ll lose the fudgy texture.

Tiffany's recipe didn't say whether or not to cool the brownies first before adding the caramel layer.  My feeling was that if the brownies were still warm, the caramel might spread better, and so I cooled them for a few minutes while I was melting the caramels and then spread the caramel right on.

For the caramel layer, I melted 2 cups of unwrapped caramels with 1/4 cup fat-free half and half.  Next time I would use the caramel bits, but this was what I had on  hand.

Put the caramel-topped brownies in the fridge until the caramel sets up nicely.  I never did get mine in the fridge because I was busy doing other tasks.  The caramel still set up beautifully.

Now, for the cookie dough part.   I have a Cookie Dough Brownie recipe which I've used for years, and which originally came from Taste of Home magazine.  When I looked at the recipe from Creme de la Crumb,  I quickly saw that the cookie dough part required the same quantities of ingredients for a square pan as my recipe did for a 13X9.  Since I knew my cookie dough made plenty for a 13X9,  I decided to just use my own recipe as is.  That worked out really well and saved a bunch of sugar and fat calories -- though these things are still outrageously rich.  (That's where the "trillionaire" designation comes in.)  I did add in two ideas from Tiffany's cookie dough -- some oatmeal, and some mini chocolate chips.

So here's what I did:

Cookie Dough Filling:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.   Beat in the milk and vanilla, then the flour to make a nice cookie dough consistency.  Stir in the oats and chips and spread this dough over the cooled and set caramel layer.

  • 1 cup (6oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tblsp. fat-free half and half
Place in microwave safe bowl and cook at High a minute or so, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth.  Spread carefully over the cookie dough layer.

And that's it!  It sounds like a lot of steps, but it's actually very easy.

Chill pan of bars to let the glaze set before cutting. I actually chilled mine overnight.  After cutting, you can either leave them in the pan or place in a covered container for storage.  I would store them in the fridge because the caramel becomes quite gooey.

As delicious as these were, I have a feeling that this whole exercise taught me something.  The caramel does put these over-the-top and they are wonderful.  I would make them this way again.  But I think when I make cookie dough brownies again, I will make them just this way only without the caramel.  The whole reason I haven't made cookie dough brownies more often was that I didn't like the brownie layer as included in the recipe.  By using my old favorite Pastor's Wife's Brownies, it improves the entire cookie dough brownie recipe.   And so does adding oatmeal and mini chips to the cookie dough part.  Recipe tweaking pays off sometimes!

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