Thursday, December 18, 2014

Caramel butter bars

These are delicious little things and have been one of my holiday carry-in staples for a few years now.  Always a crowd pleaser and a way for me to eat some without being stuck with the whole pan.  (Once you make them and know how much butter is in them...hard to eat more than a few in good conscience.)  They are easy to throw together and keep well in the fridge.  Perfect for the holidays when there is a lot going on and getting food ready ahead of time is a huge plus.  Also, I've noticed when recipes encourage you to make your own caramels...I usually do it.  But when they mention using store bought I am plenty glad to do that too. =)

Caramel Butter Bars
1-lb (4 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 TB + 1/2tsp vanilla (separated)
4 cups flour
14 oz caramel candies
1/3 cup cream or whole milk (I use cream only if I already have it on hand for something else)
1 TB coarse salt (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 325°.

2) Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed until creamy.  Add the 2TB vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the flour on low speed until a soft dough forms.
3) Press about 1/2 the dough in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is firm and the edges are just turning a golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.
4) While the bottom crust cools, make the caramel filling. Unwrap the caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl with the cream/milk.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  Continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each one, until the caramel mixture is smooth.  Once it is, stir in the 1/2 tsp vanilla.
5) Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and sprinkle with the 1 TB salt, if using.  Then crumble the refrigerated dough on top.
6) Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the topping is firm and the caramel is bubbling.  Let cool before cutting into squares.

I store these in the fridge but I'm not sure that's necessary.  Mainly keeps them off the counter and out of sight. =)


No comments: