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Shortbread Caramel Bars

July 16, 2014

 

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If you love SHORTBREAD – If you love CARAMEL – these bars are for you.  They are delicious!

Our friend, Jason suggested eating them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!!  Heaven!!!

1 Shortbread Caramel Bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

CRUST:

1 pound unsalted butter, softened *

1 cup sugar

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

Soften butter in the microwave – see “Softening Butter” under the Tips tab in this blog.

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In a large bowl, combine butter and both sugars.  Beat together until creamy.

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1 T. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

Add vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined.

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4 cups unbleached flour

Add flour about a 1/2 cup at a time, beating at low speed until all flour is added and a soft dough  forms.

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Spray a 9 x 13 pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

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Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and lay the dough on it.  Shape it into a size that you can divide into thirds easily.

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Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

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Flatten the rest of the dough just a bit and wrap it in the plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Bake the crust for 25 minutes until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown.

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CARAMEL:

14 oz. caramel, unwrapped

Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.

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1/3 cup heavy cream *

Add the cream.

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Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until all the caramels are melted and smooth.  (Be patient and feel the side of the bowl.  Towards the end, the bowl will be warm/hot. Continue to stir caramels and the heat of the ingredients will melt the remaining caramels.  (I did 1 min 30 sec. 30 sec. 30 sec.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Stir in vanilla.

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1 cup nuts (pecan, walnuts or cashews) (optional)

Sprinkle the nuts over the bottom of the crust.

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I used pecans the first time.

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I used cashews the second time.

Reheat caramel for about 15 – 20 seconds in the microwave so it is runny enough to spoon over the nuts.

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Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.  It will look like A LOT of dough!

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Return pan to the oven and bake until the shortbread topping is firm – about 40 minutes.

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Cool completely.

powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Dust with powdered sugar.

Use a sharp knife to cut the bars evenly into 15 large squares.  Remove the bars from the pan and cut into triangles, if desired.

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The bars will keep, covered tightly at room temperature, for 1 week, or 1 month in the freezer.

TIPS:

* SOFTENING BUTTER – see Softening butter under the TIPS tab.  Note – different brands of butter are wrapped differently.  Tillamook is wrapped in paper and Challenge is wrapped in foil.  I prefer the paper so I can soften it in the microwave.

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Land O Lakes is also wrapped in paper.

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* HEAVY CREAM:  Measure out remaining cream and freeze in zip lock bags

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RECIPE SOURCE:  Revised (name change) from cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot.com (found on Pinterest)

 

FULL RECIPE WITHOUT PICTURES —

SHORTBREAD CARAMEL BARS

CRUST:

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 T. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

4 cups unbleached flour

CARAMEL:

14 oz. caramel, unwrapped

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup nuts (pecan, walnuts or cashews) (optional)

powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine butter and both sugars.  Beat together until creamy.

Add vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined.

Add flour about a 1/2 cup at a time, beating at low speed until all flour is added and a soft dough  forms.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and lay the dough on it.  Shape it into a size that you can divide into 1/3’s  easily.

Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Flatten the rest of the dough just a bit and wrap it in the plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Bake the crust for 25 minutes until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown.

CARAMEL FILLING:

Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add the cream.

Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until all the caramels are melted and smooth.  (Be patient and feel the side of the bowl.  Towards the end, the bowl will be warm/hot. Continue to stir caramels and  the heat of the bowl will melt the remaining caramels.

Stir in vanilla.

Sprinkle the nuts over the bottom of the crust.

Spoon caramel filling over the nuts.

Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.  It will look like A LOT of dough!

Return pan to the oven and bake until the shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden about 35 – 40 minutes.

Cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Use a sharp knife to cut the bars evenly into 15 large squares.  Remove the bars from the pan and cut into triangles, if desired.

The bars will keep, covered tightly at room temperature, for 1 week, or 1 month in the freezer.

RECIPE SOURCE:  Revised (name change) from cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot.com (found on Pinterest)

 

 

 

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