Salted Caramel Butter Bars
For the Crust:
1 cup. butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
Approx. 30 caramel candies (give or take a few), unwrapped
2 Tablespoons milk or cream or half and half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
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. Add flour and salt; mix until smooth.
- Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper ( I like to leave the ends hanging over the edge for picking out of the pan to cut later) then spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.
- Place remaining crust mixture in the refrigerator
- Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approximately 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about 10 minutes.
- While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a saucepan, add the cream and vanilla and cook and stir over low to medium heat until completely melted. (You can also use the microwave in short bursts to melt the caramel mixture. Just use a glass bowl instead of a saucepan)
- Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Evenly sprinkle sea salt over the caramel layer.
- Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. You may find the chilled dough doesn’t “crumble” that easily. If so, just place on a cutting board and chop into small size pieces.
- 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, and then you can lift by the parchment paper out of the pan to a cutting board, then cut into squares.