I have been craving something sweet, but Gary asked that I not buy anything at the bakery. So I didn’t, I made something. This recipe first appeared on my Facebook feed. I love salted caramel so, I went to the website and decided I had to give it a try. Thanks Cookies & Cups for sharing this recipe with the world.
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
- 1 lb. salted butter room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbs vanilla
- 4 cups AP flour
- 1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
- ⅓ cup milk or cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Next day quick edit…. Next time I make this…. Double the filling. Either way you the filling… double it. Put 3/4 of what you make as the filling and reserve a 1/4 of it to drizzle on the top when it just comes out of the oven. Then sprinkle a bit more sea salt on top. Let it cool….Perfection.
Preheat oven to 325°.
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. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
Bake crust 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.
Again…I did not use this portion of the recipe. See second confession below or Follow this portion of the recipe….
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
Once the caramel is melted add in your ½ tsp vanilla and stir until combined.
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.
- Author: Cookies & Cups – she adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth
- Serves: 24 bars
- Store airtight for up to 5 days
I need to confess
I tried to make this with gluten free flour and it was a huge fail. At least using the mixture and brands that I did. I used half sprouted grain flour and half King Arthur Gluten Free AP flour. When I baked the bottom crust…. there was nothing holding it together. It makes a great “crumble” but a horrible crust. So I had to go back to the store for regular flour. And when I made it with regular wheat flour you could see why the GF version failed.
It made a great crumble for a cobbler. Very nutty and delicious.
I need to confess again: House-made Caramel
No store bought caramels were used in my version of the recipe. I find store bought caramels to be super sweet and they stick to my teeth. So I made my own caramel like candy. For this I use 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, heavy cream and butter. Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a pan. Add one teaspoon of vanilla. Cook on medium high heat whisking constantly or use your portable mixer on low to avoid burning or sticking.
Once it starts to thicken add about a 1/3 cup heavy cream. Cook about 10 minutes longer (keep mixing). It should continue to thicken. When it makes soft peaks add about 2 tablespoons of butter and blend in. When peaks hold for a few seconds and then smooth out… remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. You may need to warm to pour onto the crust.