Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Caramel treats and you used what as a pizza base???

What would Tuesday be without baking for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day? I asked Jeff this weekend what he thought might be good to bring in, but he couldn't think of anything... I think we were a bit overloaded with getting the house on the market! After glancing through some cookbooks, we decided to go the bar cookie route today and made these sublime Caramel Crunch Bars.

Where to start with these groovy bars?! Flecked with creamy pieces of sweet milk chocolate, the foundation of these bars is a buttery shortbread with an inkling of espresso and cinnamon lingering in the richness. The brown sugar in the dough imparts a caramel flavor when combined with the creamy butter - I decided to use vanilla sugar for greater dimension, but using regular granulated would be fine. With just enough flour to bind the ingredients, the dough at this point will be quite soft and sticky - be sure to just stir until the flour has been absorbed, you wouldn't want to overwork this delicate dough. Usually you would be able to just scoop the mixture into the pan and use your hands to push the dough around, but this almond-colored dough has a creaminess to it and would just stick to your fingers. I found that it was easiest to drop small dollops all over the bottom of the pan and then connect them with a small off-set spatula. If for some reason you don't have one, you could lightly wet your fingers and use a rubber spatula to help spread the mixture out.

After the base of the bars is baked to a medium golden brown, they are scattered with a good fistful of chopped bittersweet chocolate. They are then quickly placed back in the turned-off oven for just a couple minutes to soften the chocolate. The chocolate softens just enough so you can spread the chocolate chunks into a decadent frosting. Now that you've gone this far, you can't stop now - a scattering of crunchy toffee bits is the final step to take these bars over the top. While it may not look like one, if your a fan of Heath Bars, you will not be disappointed in these treats!

Just like last night's salad had no lettuce, tonight's pizza does not have a typical "crust". In this Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pizza, cooked and well-drained pasta is used, instead of dough, to form a base for the toppings. To bind the noodles together, a mixture of spices, milk and an egg are whisked together with the pasta then being added in. The spaghetti mixture is then formed into a round pizza shape using a pizza pan (no holes here please!). When you cook the noodles, be sure to break the long strands of pasta in half or thirds so it will be easier to shape in the pizza pan.

Topped with shredded chicken, marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni and thinly sliced garlic cloves, it certainly did look like a pizza as it came bubbling out of the hot oven. The outside "crust" that was not covered by topping did get quite crispy, but keep in mind, underneath the tender spaghetti will firm up enough to cut nicely, but it won't have the same texture you would get when you use a dough... as you can imagine! I was worried that it would just fall apart when we tried to move it from the pizza pan, but it stayed together very well. The whole wheat pasta brought a nuttiness that you would find if you used a whole wheat dough, but the spaghetti made the pizza a little lighter. We both thought this was an awesome way to change up pizza - it was very filling and exceptionally good!


  1. You always have the best recipes, and caramel is a personal favorite. Thanks for sharing!


  2. That is one unusual pizza--is it your own recipe? My husband would probably love it.

  3. that pizza sounds great! i love the idea of making the crust from noodles :)

  4. MJ - A favorite here too!

    Jen - for the most part, it is kind of a mis-mash of different stuff!

    SheRa - Yeah, it changes things up!