Hiya miladies!! I’ve been really slacking on ye olde blog here. I’ve had A LOT going on in my personal life (all AWESOME stuff!) and this kinda fell by the wayside. Sorry!!! But, I’m back with a bang, because these cookie bars are to die for. Literally. You could probably die from all the butter. Kidding!!!
My milady friend Miranda first made these a few years ago, and I’ve made them several times since because they are just the BEST. Realizing I’m doing a lot of strong capitalization here, sorry, just EXCITED!!! 🙂
Anyway, these are super easy and delicious. They also freeze really well, so you could make a big batch, cut them up and freeze them. Then, when the craving hits, just let one sit out on the counter for a few minutes. Perfect, salty, caramel-y yumminess.
For the Crust:
1 lb. softened salted butter
1 cup sugar
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 T vanilla
4 cups flour
For the Filling:
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped **Milady Note: I used the Kraft Caramel Bits – so easy!**
⅓ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 T coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
Line 9 x 13 pan or dish with parchment paper. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Chill remaining dough in the refrigerator.
Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approximately 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.
While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Once the caramel is melted add in your ½ tsp vanilla and stir until combined.
Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle the salt over the caramel.
Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.
Let cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy!