Salted Caramel Buttery Crumb Bars
Throw in salted caramel, and you’re in for a wonderfully buttery and caramely treat.
The bars are easy to make and you probably have everything on hand to make them now. It’s such a simple ingredients list: butter, sugar, flour, dash of vanilla, and caramel sauce.
You can use Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce or storebought. Don’t use thin, runny, ice cream sundae sauce. Use a nice thick sauce.
As the bars bake, the caramel sauce intensifies in flavor, and it tastes richer, more buttery, and has a more intense caramel flavor in the finished bars than straight out of the jar.
I was tempted to sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel filling, but I’m glad I didn’t. Allowing the caramel flavor to shine on its own, and allowing it to perfectly complement the shortbread, was a smart call. Every once in awhile, I don’t miss chocolate.
Sinking your teeth down through all the layers and getting a taste of the caramel filling in the middle is the best. Soft, chewy, and gooey all in one bite.
The bars turned out to be one of those sleeper hits that I didn’t have super high expectations for because the ingredients are so simple, but they turned out to be just that, a sleeper hit.
I loved them so much that I needed to promptly donate half the pan.
Salted Caramel Buttery Crumb Bars
I love streusel or crumble toppings and the bigger the crumbles, the better. Throw in salted caramel, and you’re in for a wonderfully buttery and caramely treat. The bars are easy to make and you probably have everything on hand to make them now. The crust and topping are the same mixture, a nice time saver. Use Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce or thick storebought and not thin, runny, ice cream sundae sauce. Regular (non-salted) caramel sauce works too. As the bars bake, the caramel sauce intensifies in flavor, and it tastes richer, more buttery, and has a more intense caramel flavor. Biting through all the layers and getting a taste of the caramel filling is the best. Soft, chewy, and gooey all in one bite.
Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 50 minutes, divided
Total Time: 3+ hours, for cooling
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
heaping 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or storebought, or regular caramel sauce) + more for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, fluffy, and well combined, about 3 minutes.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Dough shouldn't be overly sticky. If yours is sticky (mine was because I baked on a humid day), add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour, or as needed, until dough comes together without feeling sticky, however don't over-do it or dough could become crumbly.
- Turn out one-third of the mixture out into prepared pan (err on the side of going over one-third if you're eyeballing it and unsure), pressing and hard-packing it with your fingers to form a smooth, even crust layer. Bake for 20 minutes. While crust bakes, refrigerate remaining two-thirds of dough.
- After 20 minutes, remove pan from oven, and evenly pour heaping half cup salted caramel over crust.
- Evenly crumble reserved dough over the top (it looks like a lot but some sinks down into the caramel layer while baking).
- Return pan to oven and bake for about 25 to 32 minutes, or until top is barely golden browned and there's subtle signs of caramel bubbling.
- Remove pan from oven, lightly and evenly drizzle with salted caramel, and place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least two hours before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
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