Friday, August 5, 2016

Chocolate Caramel Butter Bars

After a couple of warm days last week, the weather cooled nicely and I sure wanted to bake! I had found a no-bake recipe, but I decided to save that for a different week that was a lot warmer. This recipe came across my Pinterest feed, and it looked so good. I recall making a bar similar to this a few years ago, but this recipe had a little extra added: chocolate and almonds. Caramel is always popular at work, so I figured this would be a winner.

I luckily had all of the ingredients needed for this recipe. For the caramel, you have options, depending on what you might have already. I had caramel sauce in the refrigerator, but you could also use a cup of caramel bits. Or cut up caramels that you have. The original recipe used cut up caramels, which you just sprinkle over the partially cooked base. I thought that the caramel sauce would create the most even layer; I’m not exactly sure how it would turn out using the different type of caramels.

These bars are quite hefty. I didn’t even use all of the dough for the topping, I felt like I had a nice thick layer already, and didn’t want it to be too thick. While baking, it’s hard to tell when they are baked through. The top doesn’t brown all that much. I hoped for the best when I took them out of the oven at 35 minutes. I didn’t want the caramel to get too hot! Make sure they are cool before cutting, but don’t refrigerate them like I did! That made the caramel rock hard and impossible to cut. Cut them in small pieces, because these are very rich and substantial. These were such a big hit, I plan to make them again!

Chocolate Caramel Butter Bars
1½ cups butter, room temperature
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup caramel sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and sugar on medium until creamy. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour and the salt. Stir just until the dough comes together. 

Press 1/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press into a thin, even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the bars from the oven. Spread the caramel sauce evenly over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle with salt and then top with the chocolate chips. 

Crumble the remaining dough on top of the bars and then sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Ensure that the crumbs are evenly distributed. 

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the crumb topping is barely browned. Allow the bars to cool on a wire rack. 

Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into squares. 

Recipe from Kevin's Cooking

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