Salted Caramel Bars

August 30, 2011

I made a new dessert this weekend, salted caramel bars. They were delicious, but I have to warn you they contain a LOT of butter. As in 1 lb.

I heart Paula Deen, and making this recipe in all its buttery glory definitely reminded me of her. I found this recipe on Pinterest (shocker!) and based on its rave reviews thought I would give it a try.

Start out by mixing your butter and sugars. Add in the vanilla then gradually sift in the flour until a soft dough forms.

This is what happens when you use a hand mixer in my kitchen.

Press your bottom crust (1/3 of the dough, chill the remaining 2/3) evenly into a 9x13 baking dish, bake, and let cool for 15 minutes. While it's cooling go ahead and melt your caramels and heavy cream together.

Pour the caramel mixture onto the bottom crust, then add sea salt evenly across the top. Don't overdo it! Next, crumble the rest of your chilled dough over the top of the caramel. Stick it back in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Here's what it looks like when it's done and cut into squares. Sorry for the yellowish tint on this pic, not sure what was up with my camera!

The dough has a shortbread taste and texture and the meltiness of the salted caramel just adds to the flavor. SO good and a big hit with all who tried them! Definitely a keeper.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars from Cookies and Cups

For the Crust:

1 lb. salted butter room temp

1 cup sugar

1½ cups powdered sugar

2 Tbs vanilla
4 cups All Purpose flour

For the Filling:

1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped

1/3 cup milk or cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 T. coarse sea salt (optional)

To make the crust:

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Preheat to 325F.

Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown,  approx 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the crust. If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now.

Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Let cool before cutting into squares.

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