Oh, how I love salted caramel. But wait, I got ahead of myself...
When we got the invite for Nathan's BYU EMBA graduation party in Park City and it mentioned a dessert bar, I was all over that idea because I'm all over dessert (often literally). Plus I love any excuse to try out a new dessert recipe from my Pinterest "suh-weet!" board. If it has salted caramel in it somewhere, anywhere, even better.
By the way, I love when I come up with a clever name for a Pinterest board. It makes me smile.
So does dessert.
I decided I needed to try these salted caramel butter bars for two reasons: one, the photo made me wish yet again for Wonkavision; and two, the title has both the phrase "salted caramel" and the word "butter."
How could you not make Eat at Allie's salted caramel butter bars after seeing THAT photo?
Her photo is definitely better than mine but all I had was my cellphone camera on hand that night. I thought I'd have extra salted caramel bars to bring home so I could take a "real" photo later. Silly me!
I'm not kidding when I say these bars are like crack. On crack. They were the hit of the party. True story: I heard Nathan's friends telling their friends to try one before they were gone. And a guy who told me he was definitely not a dessert fan polished off his salted caramel butter bar in record time.
The only thing I'll do differently next time (and there WILL be a next time...probably many next times) is change the ratio of dough on bottom and top. The original recipe calls for 1/3 dough pressed into the pan and 2/3 sprinkled on top. I found this made for way too much topping. In fact, I didn't even use all the refrigerated dough because I ran out of sprinkling room in the pan. You want some of that ooey, gooey caramel to show! Next time I'll try 1/2 dough on bottom and 1/2 on top. If that also seems off, I'll revert to the 1/3 dough pressed into the pan and simply cut back on the topping.
A+ if you followed everything I said in that last paragraph.
Oh! I almost forgot! If you're doing some serious multitasking while making these salted caramel bars (e.g., packing up your husband and son for a camp-out, doing multiple loads of laundry, freshening up after a long graduation-filled morning) and forget to sprinkle the sea salt on the caramel filling before adding the topping, you can sprinkle it after the final baking and they'll still taste fabulous. Trust me.
Printable recipe for salted caramel bars below.
- 1 lb salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 T vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 1 bag (14-oz) caramel squares, unwrapped
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees; butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars for at least 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Sift the flour and add to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until a soft dough forms.
- Press about half of the dough evenly into the pan; refrigerate remaining dough.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until firm and the edges are just barely turning a light golden brown.
- While dough is baking, start on the filling.
- Place the unwrapped caramels, heavy whipping cream and vanilla in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until completely melted
- Pour the caramel filling evenly over the crust. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble evenly over the caramel.
- Sprinkle dough with sea salt.
- Bake for another 25-30 minutes until the shortbread topping is firm and starting to turn a light golden brown on the edges.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Previous pinned & prepped recipes:
- Hello Dolly bars
- Brown sugar & balsamic-glazed pork loin
- Brussels sprouts with bacon & walnuts
- Glazed doughnut muffins
- Crock pot chicken tacos
- Brownie cookies
- Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
- Copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets
- Slow cooker angel chicken
- Slow cooker chicken & dumplings
- No-bake peanut butter s'mores bars
- Tomato basil Parmesan soup
- Chocolate chip cookie n' Oreo fudge brownie bar
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