Sweet and salty, totally irresistible and great for parties or solo gorging!
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.