Caramel Nut Bars

Hey Friday, you are looking ever so sweet to me this week. I just want to enrobe myself in the comforting blanket of the weekend and not poke my head out until Sunday night.

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I’m pretty sure the lure of the empty kitchen is the only thing to pull me from my couch fort.u00c2u00a0 That, and the groaning belly of my husband.

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And possibly my own desire for new flavors and textures…and a sincere craving for caramel.

I’m pretty sure I’m always craving caramel, and would never turn it down, ever.u00c2u00a0 I might even go so far as to say it surmounts my cravings for chocolate.

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So naturally, the thought of making caramel, pouring it hot and steaming over roasted nuts, and in turn pouring that delicious concoction over a shortbread crust just seemed an inevitability.

The caramel stays soft and supple, the nuts crunchy and the shortbread flaky and buttery.u00c2u00a0 I practically inhaled these.u00c2u00a0 I think you can see why.

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One Year Ago: The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

Caramel Nut Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Makes one 8x8\" pan

Serving Size: About 9-12 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 5/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/6 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • FOR THE CARAMEL:
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5/8 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups roasted cashews or peanuts (or nut of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8” baking pan or line with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Carefully add the flour and mix just until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and prick it all over with a fork. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool on a wire rack as you prepare the topping.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until foamy and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring frequently to keep it from burning, until a candy thermometer inserted in the caramel registers 240°F (soft ball stage), about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Add the nuts and cook for 2 minutes longer. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling. Let the bars cool completely, then remove onto a cutting board. Cut into bars and serve. The bars can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a week.
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Adapted from Week of Menus

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3 Comments

  • January 25, 2013 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I need these, they look so chewy and filling, like a Payday bar. Yum! I need to wake up at work and I bet these would do the trick.

  • kit walker
    January 28, 2013 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    how do you measure 5/8 of a cup? my measuring cup only goes to 1/4, so how many tablespoons is 5/8?

    • bashful_bao
      January 28, 2013 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I just kind of estimate, or do 1/2 cup plus half of 1/4 of a cup. I generally just fill up my 1/2 cup, then add 2 Tbsp more or so.

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