Someday, I will learn how to make lactose-free caramel, so I can concoct a GF version of my mother's caramel brownies. For now I will settle for this treat, which features a layer of brown-sugary goodness sandwiched between rich dark chocolate brownies and a layer of melted chocolate. I don't feel at all deprived.
From Pillsbury's "Best of the Bake Off" Cookbook.
Makes a 9 x 12 pan of bar cookies/brownies
20 + 40 + 10 minutes (plus 2 hours chilling time)
-large mixing bowl
-9 x 12 inch pan
-small pot for melting chocolate
Middle Cookie Layer:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. white rice flour (don't use bean flour; this part won't be baked and will retain its 'raw' flavor)
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1 box favorite GF brownie mix-- I used the 16 oz. Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix (requires 2 eggs and 6 tbsp. corn oil)
Top Chocolate Glaze:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels-- I used Enjoy Life's lactose-free chips
1 tbsp. shortening (NOT butter or oil)
**I made the middle layer before the bottom layer so to use my same big mixing bowl without raw egg contamination
Middle Cookie Layer:
1. Bring butter to room temperature. While butter is sitting out inside your big mixing bowl, gather sugars and flours.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter till smooth. Add in brown and white sugars. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (no longer than 2 minutes). Pour in 1 tbsp. of water and vanilla extract. Beat more to combine ; mixture should be a little less crumbly.
3. Add in 1/4 cup potato starch flour and 1/4 cup white rice flour. Mix gently by hand to combine, then add in remaining 1/2 cup white rice flour and heaping tsp. of xanthan gum. Beat for another minute with the electric mixer to make sure everything is well combined.
4. Scoop 'cookie dough' out of bowl and place on a piece of Al foil (use this piece to cover the 9 x 13 pan later on). Set in fridge while you mix and bake the bottom layer.
5. In same large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix as directed on package.
6. Pour/scoop brownie mix into greased 9 x 12 pan-- I used disposable Aluminum pan. Bake as directed on package, but DON'T overbake. You don't want the edges burnt.
7. Remove brownies from the oven and let them cool. (10 or so minutes; want brownies to be 'firm'.. place in fridge to speed up). Turn off oven. While the brownies are cooling, take 'cookie dough' layer out of fridge to soften.
8. Press soft cookie dough layer onto the top of the cooled, cooked brownies with your fingers. Evenly spread 'dough' out over the entire pan.
9. Pour 1 cup chocolate chips into a small pot. Add in 1 tbsp. shortening. Begin heating over LOW heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula.
10. When chips are fully melted and creamy, remove from heat and let cool a minute or so. Spread chocolate glaze evenly over the cookie dough layer with the spatula.
11. Cover pan with Al foil piece and place into the fridge until top chocolate glaze has hardened. To cut into bars: remove from fridge and let them warm up slightly (5 minutes). Cut and serve when bars are still chilled, but glaze is no longer rock-hard. Store in the fridge.