Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

I don't think you can ever go wrong with a shortbread cookie. I also don't think you could even go wrong with a caramel sauce so just imagine how right it must be to combine the two. This bar is not messy by any means but it is definitely sticky, chewy, and especially gooey. I'm a huge fan of adding whiskey to my caramel sauce because it gives the caramel a smoky flavor that lingers. I also like the addition of nuts but the bars can do without them if nuts aren't your thing. The bottom line is having a bar with a good buttery crumble and an ooey gooey, ultra sweet caramel filling. 

Gooey Caramel Butter BarsSource: Jill O'Connor's Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Makes 12-2x2 squares

1 stick butter (8 Tbsp), at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Caramel sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover half of a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy. Add vanilla and salt and combine. Add flour and beat on low speed until combined (dough will be sandy).

Press about 1/2 the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden color, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce.Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Top with half of caramel sauce and then top with rest of dough. Return to oven and bake until shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Lifting foil, remove bars, place on a flat surface, and cut into even squares using a sharp knife.


Storage: 1 week tightly covered at room temperature; 1 month in freezer.

Whiskey-Pecan Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heave cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine the sugar, whiskey, and lemon juice in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn color. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream and salt. Carefully stir in cream, as caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of thick cream. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans.

Let cool.

Storage: Cover and refrigerate. Good up to a week.


Desi said...

these are definitely going on my list of recipes to try!

Megan said...

Oh yes - my son would LOVE those - the homemade twix bars are his favorite - so I'll have to make these just for comparisons sake!

Branny said...

This looks like a WELCOME BREAK from chocolatey desserts.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I am ALL over this recipe. The only thing better would be mushing up some banana and mixing it in some how. :)