Lorraine Hooper--better known as Lola-- is the owner of the all-scratch bakery Lola Cookies & Treats in Leesburg Virginia. A consumate baker, Hooper has more than 25 years of experience baking (and eating!) and is still searching constantly to improve various recipes. Her cookies and bars have won prizes at the very competitive Virginia State Fair and have beat out regional pastry chefs in competition for the 2007 Critics Choice Award for Best Tasting Chocolate Desserts at Chocolates Galore and More in Lansdown, VA.
The bakery she created, Lola Cookies & Treats, is a small shop in the historic district of Leesburg, Virginia. Cookies baked here, which have been featured on FOX-5 TV, are also available for shipping nationwide from the website <a>www.lolacookies.com</a>.
Hi, I am Lola from Lola Cookies and Treats in Leesburg, Virginia. We are making caramel pecan bars today and we are just about ready to put together that fresh made caramel topping.
This sugar that we have been cooking on the stove top for a while now has finally reached that beautiful, light golden brown color that we have been waiting for and now, we are ready to add the vanilla and cream. I am going to pour them all at once. Be careful, when you do this part, it is going to steam up. The cold temperature of the cream in this boiling hot sugar is going to cause a reaction. So, you want to stand back a little bit and get ready for the fun, here we go.
There, look at that crazy stuff. It is turning into caramel right now, just going to stir till it is nice and smooth. We are going to take our toasted pecans and add them, they all going to be coated in this fresh caramel. It is heaven, it really is heaven. There they are. Now, this caramel is starting to firm up as it cools. It is going to take a few minutes but you do not want to waste too much time now. You want to get this spread out evenly, make sure it has got all the cream there. We are going to make it spread out evenly all over our pan. Now, this tray in particular that I have got here has pan baked, cooled and I actually chilled it a bit in the refrigerator before I am going to put this on. The reason is that the nuts and caramel are so sticky that as you are spreading them out on the base, it can, if the base is not cool enough it can cause a tear up in this cookie base and you do not want that. It will not look that attractive. So, you do not have to chill your cookie base but I find it is easier to do this step if you have. Alright, there it is and you just move it around till it is covering all over. That looks good. Sometimes, there is just a little bit left in the pan to fill in those gaps and the caramel is still spreading a little bit now while it is warm. It is going to be hardening. But if you have got some tiny little gaps here, that is okay because the caramel is going to spread a little bit still.