Baby Ruth Cookie Bars

Baby Ruth Cookie Bars

makes about 60 cookies

Sugar Cookie Base

1 pkg sugar cookie mix 

One 310g jar cajeta or caramel sauce

Caramel Nougat

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup caramel sauce 

2 T light corn syrup

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 cup salted peanuts

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

To make the cookie base:  Prepare the sugar cookie mix as directed on the package.  Press the dough into the bottom of a jelly roll pan that has been lined with foil.  Bake according to the package directions.  The time may vary just slightly from making individual cookies.  Pull the pan out of the oven when the base is nice and golden.

Meanwhile, make the nougat:  Combine the half and half, caramel sauce, corn syrup, and butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir constantly until the butter melts, then stir in 1 1/4 cups of the powdered sugar.  Clip on the candy thermometer and cook the mixture to 234°, stirring occasionally.

Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, turn off the heat.  After a minute, whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar.  Keep whisking until the mixture starts to thicken up and becomes a nice spreading consistency (about the same consistency as peanut butter), but is still quite warm.

While you are cooking the nougat, and only having to stir occasionally, spread the cajeta over the sugar cookie layer (You will have to microwave the cajeta for a minute or so to soften it up enough to spread it.)  Sprinkle the peanuts evenly over the cajeta, pressing on them lightly to stick them to the cajeta.  

As soon as the nougat is ready, spread it evenly over the peanuts.  Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the nougat.  Wait a couple of minutes for the chocolate chips to melt, then spread the chocolate out, evenly coating the cookie bars.  Let cool completely, then cut into bars.  Serve at room temperature.