Thursday, September 19, 2013

Salted Caramel Bars

I have had this recipe to try for a very long time, but was afraid I'd like them too much and eat the whole pan.  We recently had a family reunion and I was supposed to bring desserts, so I thought it was the perfect time to try them. They were, as I suspected, very rich and very delicious.  I loved the salty, sweet taste. They were gone in a flash!
Salted Caramel Bars
Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by spraying with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine with a handheld mixer:
1 lb. butter (4 sticks), soft at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
2 Tablespoons vanilla
When well combined, add 4 cups flour.  Beat until a nice smooth dough forms.  
Press half of the dough into the prepared pan.  Put the remaining dough in the fridge for now.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Let cool while you do the next part:
Unwrap one bag of caramels (about 14 ounces) and put them in a microwave-safe bowl.  Mix in 1/3 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Microwave on high for about 1 minute.  Stir.  Continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until the caramels and cream stir together and caramels are melted and smooth.  Pour the caramel mixture over the somewhat cooled crust.  Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the top.  Take out the other 1/2 of the dough and crumble it over the top of the caramel and salt.  Bake another 20 minutes or so, until the topping is browned.  Cool and cut into bars.  

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