A few weeks ago I planned a barbeque for my work for the 1 year anniversary of our grand opening. My boss asked me to make a list of what we needed and she would run to the store to get everything. I put things like hamburgers, veggie burgers, buns, chips, and pop on the list. Very simple, very basic. She came back to the office with filet mignon, lobster tail and salmon. Not exactly what I was expecting but I was not about to complain. In addition to all of that I volunteered to make some desserts for the party. I made whoopie pies and caramel crumb bars.
I have always been a chocolate person. If I had the choice between chocolate cake and yellow cake I would pick chocolate every single time. I always gravitate to the chocolate items on the dessert table. But lately I’ve been all about the caramel. I can’t get enough caramel. Don’t worry though I still eat my fair share of chocolate. And Cliff’s too. Of all the caramel desserts we have made lately this is one of my favorites. They are quick and easy to make but taste like they are time consuming and difficult to make. Now, if I were presented with these or a piece of chocolate cake, I’d definitely pick these. They’re that good.
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray and line with foil. Cut the foil so that there is a little extra on each side so that you can lift the caramel bars out of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, add 2 ¼ cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.
Transfer ¾ of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator while you make the filling and top layer.
Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 – 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.
To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.
Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures