I’m kind of a kitchen snob purist, so when I step into the kitchen I aim to make as much from scratch as possible. The only problem with this philosophy is that time isn’t always in my favor. We all need a shortcut every now and then! I hesitated for a long time to make these bars…they sounded so good, but wouldn’t they be even better if I made my own salted caramel? Trouble is caramel making is sloooow. And also, I wanted something that allowed the kids to join in – not good idea with candy making. However, little fingers can make quick work of all those caramel wrappers that have to be undone.
And when all is done, these are absolutely delicious! I think they would be perfect for a bake sale or to gift out. Don’t they look cute tied up in a little bag?
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. pure vanilla
4 cups ap flour
1 – 14 oz bag of caramels
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, sugar, and powdered sugar. Add 1 tbsp. vanilla, then mix in the flour and combine just until it forms a soft dough.
Press half of the dough in the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce your temperature to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, unwrap the caramels and melt them in the microwave with the cream and salt. (Start with 1 minute, stir and heat more if necessary…watch carefully so it doesn’t get too hot and burn or boil over) Stir together until smooth and then stir in the remaining 1 tsp vanilla. Pour caramel filling over the hot crust.
Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the caramel. Bake for about 30 minutes, until filling is bubbly and the top is a beginning to turn golden brown.