Sweet and salty, totally irresistible, these bars live up to their name because they are full of caramel and butter. 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!
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.
Don’t refrigerate these bars to cool them down. It’ll harden your caramel and possibly make you break a tooth.