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Salted caramel butter bars

It finally snowed! It looks strangely like winter outside today. The snow that fell was the wet heavy kind, causing our satellite dish to cease working last night. Did I mention that this happened just as I was sitting down to watch a show that I get really excited about watching every week? I was super bummed, but it opened up time to accomplish a few other tasks, such as writing out a birthday post for my 5-year-old boy! Our journey with Elijah has been one filled with challenges and incredible joy. Seven heart catheterizations, three open heart surgeries, two bronchoscopies, one spinal cord surgery and one urethra surgery later, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change any of it. Happy 5th birthday, beautiful son of mine! What an incredible journey it has been.

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Looking back on the first 5 years of this boy's life made me weepy. Grateful and happy, but still weepy. At the end of yesterday, I needed comfort! Especially since the snowed-upon satellite dish ruined one of my comfort sources. So I broke out the ice cream and Bailey's! If I would have had a pan of salted caramel butter bars nearby, it would have been completely demolished. Sadly, these bars were long gone.

I found these through the beloved Pinterest, on Cookies & Cups. It looks like the original source is the cookbook Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth. Why in the world do I not own this cookbook?!

I about died when I saw how much butter was used for this recipe. I had my husband check and double check amounts and conversions before adding FOUR STICKS OF BUTTER to my bowl. Let me tell you, though, they are weak-in-the-knees delicious.

In a large bowl, combine:

4 sticks (yes, 1 POUND) salted butter, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Using a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla and beat until combined.

Gradually add 4 cups of all-purpose flour to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the prepared pan to form a bottom crust, and place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

While the crust is cooling, make the caramel filling. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine:

One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the caramels are not completely melted, microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the top.

Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel layer. 

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.

After your first bite, you will likely forget about all of that butter. I did. 

Printable recipe: Salted caramel butter bars

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Reader Comments (42)

oh my goodness. these bars look like perfection. the lb of butter doesn't scare me haha! i am a sucker for salty/sweet desserts. YUM!

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Sweet, sweet boy. He looks like he's enjoying his birthday.

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRescie

Hi! I have a recipe for a shortbread cookie topped with a caramel sauce, sprinkled with a course salt, and drizzled with chocolate. These definitely will he faster then making them all individual. I was hoping to use the homemade caramel sauce you posted a few days ago next time I made them. Do you think it would work for these. I hate buying those little caramels and melting them down. They're so expensive and if I can make it myself, wah lah! That would make these desserts even better! Lol Thanks for another great recipe.

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBritta

4 sticks of butter?!!? Bring it on! I freaking love butter! These look absolutely wonderful.
As for reminiscing about our little ones...I totally get it. My daughter is only 18 months old and already I get weepy when I look through her pictures. They are so special and amazing. It sounds like your son has had quite a journey already, what a strong boy her is. Adorable too. Happy Birthday!

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Hi Britta! You could definitely give it a try, but I don't know if the consistency of the caramel would be the same. It's all so oozy and gooey, that I really can't imagine you could go wrong, though. Let me know how it turns out!!

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPip & Ebby

Happy Birthday to your boy! These bars look delicious. You can tell they are ooey and gooey and melt in your mouth. Just the way I like it.

Hope your son had a wonderful B-day :)! Bummer about the satelite dish! I am not loving the snow either. These bars you made sound amazing! Salted caramel is one of the most heavenly things and that topping looks delish!

These bars look like the perfect way to celebrate! Happy birthday to your little guy and thanks for sharing this recipe!

02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki @ WITK

These bars look fantastic! My coworker shared a similiar recipe with chocolate chips in the middle with caramel. We call them naughty bars, because they are so naughty to eat!

These do look weak in the knees good! So gorgeous and yummy!

02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica | Oh Cake

Happy birthday to your beautiful boy! And he is incredibly beautiful!

Plus, a great recipe to accompany a celebration!

Sweet story and pics! So happy for your boy and your family. :) I was referred via a link on Ingenious Inkling's blog, to this recipe. It sounds heavenly! I love salted nut rolls and will be trying it with added peanuts. If that works, I would like to try a blend of cashews/almods/pecans. MMmmmm! THANKS for sharing the recipe. :)

02.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabby

I have a batch in the oven right now and cannot wait for them to be finished. They look awesome and I just had to try them. There may not be any left when my kids get home... Happy (belated) birthday to Elijah!
He is adorable.

02.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Thank you so much for this recipe and the five lbs I'm going to gain after I eat ALL of them! I just pulled them out of the oven!

03.12.2012 | Unregistered Commentertanya

ohhhh my. Not only do I love them, my husband who is not a sweet eater devoured them and has begged for more. Thank you for this recipe, it is a winner all round.

04.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

I wonder, could you use homemade caramel made from sweetened condensed milk? You just remove paper from can, place a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan of boiling water for 1 hour, and you have caramel.

04.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Hi Karen, Like a dulce de leche? Yeah, I think that would be fabulous! Let me know if you give it a try!

04.16.2012 | Registered CommenterMegan Porta

these are so good and surprisingly easy! i did make my own caramel but i imagine those were just as good

06.27.2012 | Unregistered Commenterolivia

Oh goodness... talk about weak in the knees... do I have the guts to make this?!

09.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterApril

OMG... Thank you so much for this recipe! It's fantastic!

09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLilly

Don't worry about all that butter... After my some quick math and looking at nutrition labels estimated there only to be around 8100 calories in the batch. Not bad.

10.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJway

These bars were seriously DELICIOUS, thank you so much for sharing! I have a big, picky family and EVERYONE loved them, even the kids! I did have a little trouble baking the topping at 325, after 40 minutes it still looked gooey so I turned it up to 350, after about 7 more minutes I put the broiler on and let it brown for about 2 minutes because it was still looking uncooked. I was worried that the alterations would make the topping too hard, but it still was yummy and turned out just like your photos. Did anyone else have this problem and/or have any suggestions? Should I cook at 350 the whole time? Thanks!

10.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

WOW, this texture looks amazing!

11.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRonja

I just made these for my family. On a positive- these are absolutely delicious!! On a negative- is the tablespoon of salt an error? Thankfully I didn't use a whole tablespoon, so it wasn't completely ruined. But still, everyone thought it was way too salty. Next time I'm leaving out the salt, or using a teaspoon!!! Oh, and I did have to cook this longer than recipe calls for!

11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebby

Hi Debby! I actually do use a tablespoon of coarse salt with these bars. A teaspoon would be great, too, I'm sure. These bars are intended to be very salty, as well as very sweet.

11.24.2012 | Registered CommenterMegan Porta

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