Friday, August 10, 2012

Caramel Almond Pretzel Bars

Oh, I have wanted to make these bars for a while! It takes an entire pound of almonds so that is an expensive ingredient. I was looking through the cupboard the other day, looking for pecans, and I realized that I had bought the big 2 pound bag of almonds last time I was at Costco! Great, I could make them right away.

These cookies have a thin butter cookie crust, which I think I would like to be a little thicker to hold up the heavy almond/pretzel caramel. I had trouble even being able to cover the entire bottom of the pan. One edge was really thin! This makes a lot of caramel and it isn’t hard, but you do need to watch the temperature on the candy thermometer. Don’t use too small of pan, either. It didn’t happen to me this time, but sometimes when you make caramel it bubbles over and that’s just not something you want to have to clean up.

These took a long time to cool, and I think that I should have lined the pan with parchment as the recipe gave as an option. Then I could have lifted it out of the pan to cut the bars. I cut them in a few big bars to get them out of the pan but the caramel was still soft so I put them in the refrigerator for a bit. My caramel is quite soft, so perhaps I could have cooked the caramel a little more. They are sticky and messy but boy are they good! I just ate one of the small corners and the salty, buttery sweet caramel just can’t be beat. These bars are certainly worth the cost and effort that they take!

Caramel Almond Pretzel Bars

1 ¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup butter
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound almonds
1 ½ cups pretzel twists, lightly crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heavily grease a 9” x 13” pan.

Make the crust: in a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until the mixture is crumbly.

Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough with a fork. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool slightly as you prepare topping.

Make the topping: in a large saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until foamy and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer inserted in the caramel registers 240 degrees, about 10 minutes longer. Add the almonds and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add pretzels, quickly incorporating it into the caramel. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading it evenly. 

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the topping is bubbling. Let cool completely. Remove onto a cutting board. Cut into bars and serve.

Recipe from Week of Menus


Sunshine - said...

Mmmmm....that looks so good! I am not a pretzel person but I would eat this.

Pamela said...

I want these....NOW!!