Sweet and salty, totally irresistible, these bars live up to their name because they are full of caramel. A buttery crust holds this decadent bar for your fingers to bring to your mouth to enjoy. Bring a batch with you, because they are great for parties! They will be requested again and again!
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.
So 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! But if I would have had a pan of these 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 do love to own cookbooks.
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. But believe me, it wasn’t deterring me from trying out this recipe – don’t let it stop you either!
WATCH THIS VIDEO TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLES – AN EPISODE BY KIDS IN THE KITCHEN!
Enjoy the step-by-step video tutorial we have created for this recipe! Our goal is to make your time in the kitchen as easy as possible and to ensure that your version of this recipe is a success. See our full collection of cooking and baking videos on YouTube!
HOW TO MAKE SALTED CARAMEL BUTTER BARS
These bars are weak-in-the-knees delicious dessert bars!
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 oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 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 caramels)
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.
Some stores sell caramel bits in a bag, removing the need to unwrap all those individual caramels that are begging to be taste tested when really they need to be used for the recipe. Try them if you can!
If you just don’t have time or plain don’t want to make your own caramel sauce – Smuckers Simple Delights Salted Caramel sauce in the ice cream toppings aisle is a good substitute. While I love this homemade version, I can grasp why you’d take the short cut.
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.
Don’t refrigerate these bars to cool them down. It’ll harden your caramel and possibly make you break a tooth.
HOW TO STORE SALTED CARAMEL BUTTER BARS
These can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
After your first bite, you will likely forget about all of that butter. I did.
OPTIONAL ADD INS:
Wanna up the game? Add one of these options to your bars, they’d be amazing.
Mini chocolate chips
CHECK OUT A COUPLE OF MY OTHER FAVORITE CARAMEL DESSERTS!
WHAT TO SERVE AT A PARTY
I LOVE party food, so you have come to the right place if you are looking for recipes to make for your next gathering. Here are some options for you that will be easy, delicious and crowd-pleasing!
Fruit Pizza – The classic, crowd-pleasing Fruit Pizza has a cookie dough crust, dreamy cream cheese frosting and a colorful top layer of fruit and a tasty glaze. Great appetizer/dessert for parties of any kind, any time of the year!
Taco Ranch Pasta Salad – This delicious pasta salad gets totally devoured at gatherings, no matter the season.
Sausage Cheese Dip – Sausage Cheese Dip is easy to make (let your crockpot do the work for you!), cheesy, flavorful and totally irresistible! Serve as an appetizer at your next party and it won’t last long. Only 6 ingredients required for this delicious party food!
7-Layer Taco Dip – This is the best 7-Layer Taco Dip you’ll ever meet! It’s the perfect appetizer and party food and it is always the first thing to get devoured.
Crockpot Meatballs – These require only a few ingredients with only a few minutes of prep. They are SO EASY to make, totally packed with delicious flavor and great for game-day parties or holidays. Let your slow cooker do all of the work for you!
Spinach Artichoke Dip – This hot Spinach Artichoke Dip is a party staple! People always get excited about this dip and its so easy to make! It’s a filling, cheesy snack or appetizer that you can put on pita squares, crackers or chips. Let your slow cooker do all of the work for you!
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
- 4 sticks salted butter 1 lb, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 14 oz caramels unwrapped
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars. Using hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough in refrigerator. Bake until firm and edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 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 and vanilla, and 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.
- Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle the salt over top. Remove remaining dough from 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.
I have been making these for several years now and this is one of my most requested cookies! I’ve taken to doubling the recipe (one bowl of dough at a time–much easier to divide equally! Lol!) I use a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (no need to grease the pan and makes it easier to lift out the finished product for cutting on a cutting board) and use a short rolling pin to get the first layer spread as evenly as possible on the bottom. I double the caramel, as well, and coarse salt until it looks about right! I can’t say enough about how fabulous this recipe is! Thank you so much!
I love that you shared that. Sounds perfect – thank you!
Omg! These are so good! Very easy to make. I bought caramel bits so I would not have to sit and unwrap . Another tip is when you get through making the dough, take your hand and level it out in the mixing bowl. Then take a knife and cut all the way to the bottom and across to evenly divide your dough. Then get a spoon and start digging out the first half for the bottom layer. Works perfect and then it’s even!
I also sprinkled semi-sweet chocolate chips on half of mine directectly over the caramel layer before the shortbread topping for my chocolate lovers!
These are the best ever! I made them because I love caramel, but my family loved them too. My kids were all home for Christmas and everyone kept sneaking little bites until the pan was nearly empty, necessitating baking a second batch. Thanks. If you don't want to eat butter–don't eat cookies!
Once these are made and cut into squares can they be frozen. Want to make for Christmas.
Jennifer from Germany
Hello from germany, today I tried this horrible things 🙂 Deliscious!!!
But they are a little bit hard to bite. Is that right or did I something wrong?
Jennifer from germany
I came across this on Pinterest and it has become the absolute favorite dessert of my family. Made them 3 times now to raves, and wrote about it on my blog. Thank you so much for an incredible recipe!!