Oh, you are going to love these! Buttery, caramelly with a touch of salt, perfect for any time. I made half the pan with just the caramel and salt and the other half with chocolate chips sprinkled over the caramel and salt to have half and half. Make them a day ahead, and they get even better.
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
1 lb. salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 Tbl. vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
14 oz. caramel squares, approx. 54
1 1/4 tsp. coarse ground salt (sea salt)
1 – 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, optional
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter a cake pan, 9×13, with cooking spray.
Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
Add in the vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour and mix on low speed just until a smooth soft dough forms, but do not over mix.Press about half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.
Place the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator to chill.
Bake the crust in the oven for 20 minutes until firm and the edges are a pale golden yellow.
While the crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling.Place the unwrapped caramels, heavy whipping cream and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramels are completely melted and smooth.
When the bottom crust is cooked to a pale yellow, pour the caramel filling evenly over the crust.
Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the caramel filling.If adding in the chocolate chips, sprinkle over the caramel filling and salt.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and crumble it evenly over the caramel filling.
Without chocolateReturn the pan to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden.
Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap.
Allow it to sit overnight before cutting into squares.
Adapted from a recipe by Allie Suydam.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
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