Salted Caramel Butter Bars

This is one of those recipes that I've been seeing literally every where on the internet lately. Clogging up my Facebook feed, clogging my Pinterest feed, running in my head whenever I closed my eyes. You know, just normal viral presence sort of stuff.

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Most of the time I'm making treats for a large group of people, so the typical 9x13 baking pan bar recipes that have been floating around everywhere just weren't going to cut it. On top of that, the traditional recipes called for a lot of butter and powdered sugar. So much so that I was worried that the recipe would be too dense and rich for my taste.

What you'll find below is my revised version of the recipe found on Cookies and Cups expanded to work with a large jelly roll pan and cut down on all of that extra sugar that made it way too sweet.

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2) While the oven is heating, cream together the butter and the sugars. I always soften my butter to room temperature before I try to cream them together.  If need be, let the butter soak (in wrapping) in warm water. I just put the sugars in my mixer, throw in the butter, and put it in on low.  You'll know it's creamed together when it's all mixed together in a creamy mass.

3) While the butter and sugars are creaming, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  For this recipe I use a 21x15 jelly roll pan, which is larger than most. But it will work in a normal size jelly roll pan.

If you don't have parchment paper, you can just butter or spray the pan. But I would recommend that you invest in some parchment paper. It's fantastic and really speeds up the clean up process..

4) Mix in the flour and the vanilla slowly.

5) Once the dough is completely mixed, take two thirds of it and spread it out across the bottom of the pan. Then, put it in to cook for 20 minutes. Make sure to refrigerate the remaining third of the tough.

6) While it's baking, make some salted caramel sauce. I personally always make this sauce from Sally's Baking Addiction. I haven't tinkered with a caramel sauce recipe largely because this stuff is so good. I make a double batch for this recipe. Keep in mind that you'll need at least a large sauce pan if you intend on making both batches of sauce at once. If you don't have a large one, it's OK to make one and then the other.

7) Pull the bar base out of the oven and pour the caramel sauce evenly over the whole thing. If you're making the two batches separately, it's perfectly OK to leave the bars sitting out while you wait to pour on the second batch.  

8) Sprinkle the remaining batter over the top of the caramel and put the bars back in the oven.

9) Leave the bars in until the caramel is bubbling and the dough on top is starting to brown. This should take 25-30 minutes.

10) Let it sit to cool before you cut and serve them.

Recipe:

Cook time: 45-50 minutes Prep time not included in cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the Crust and Crumble:

  • 3 cups salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups of flour

For the Caramel:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons salted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream (Milk will work as a substitute if need be)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Cooking Process

For the Caramel

  • Heat granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-medium high heat. Remember, if you're doubling the recipe you want to use a large sauce pan.
  • Stir constantly with high heat resistant spatula or a wooden spoon.
  • The sugar will start clumping up. Keep stirring as it melts into a brown liquid.
  • Make sure to scrape the bottom and all sides so that nothing burns.
  • Once the sugar is melted, add the butter. It's going to bubble quite a bit because of the heat difference. I'd recommend an apron.
  • Once the butter has melted completely and incorporated in (should take 3-4 minutes) add in the heavy cream slowly. It's going to bubble even more now than it did with the butter. Make sure to keep stirring constantly.
  • The mixture will rise in the pan. This is why we need a larger pan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for a minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt. 
  • Let it cool a little before you pour it over the crust.

For the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cream the butter together with the sugars.
  • While the butter is creaming, line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
  • Once the butter and sugars are creamed together, add in the vanilla flour. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and press it flat on the jelly roll pan so it is evenly distributed.
  • Put the jelly roll pan in the oven and let bake for 20 minutes.
  • Refrigerate the remaining dough while the rest bakes.
  • Make the caramel sauce if you haven't already.
  • Remove the crust from the oven and pour the sauce evenly across the crust.
  • Sprinkle the remainder of the dough over the top of the caramel.
  • Return the bars to the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the caramel is bubbling and the exposed crust is turning a golden brown.
  • Let cool before cutting.
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