For Christmas, I got a couple of specialty baking ingredients from different people. I need to figure out what I am going to bake with those new treasures. My friend gave me some caramel bits, which I absolutely adore! I wanted to make something with those right away. I found that I had recently pinned this recipe for caramel swirl bars. It called for regular square caramels, but I knew the caramel bits would work just fine.
This recipe doesn’t make a lot of dough, and I wasn’t sure that there would be enough dough to spread a layer in the bottom of the pan! It took a lot of care to spread the dough thin enough to cover the base of the pan, but I did it. I had to use a thin metal spatula to make that happen. With the foil lined pan, if you try to spread it with a regular spatula it doesn’t work at all. Other than that, these bars were pretty easy to put together. They cut beautifully as well and have a great caramel flavor.
Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
14 caramels, unwrapped or caramel bits
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and. In a large mixer bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla on medium until smooth. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir just until the flour disappears into the batter. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Reserve about one cup of the dough for the topping. Spread the remaining dough evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until the base it set.
Remove the bars from the oven and cool slightly while making the caramel swirl. Place the caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Pour the caramel over the base, spreading within ½” of the edge. Top with spoonfuls of the remaining dough. Swirl with a knife. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until set.
Allow to cool on a wire rack. Lift the foil from the pan; peel away the foil. Cut into bars.
Recipe from McCormick