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Salted Caramel Pecan Bars with Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust


Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:

  • 1/2c butter, softened
  • 1/4c + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/tsp salt
  • 1 1/2c flour

For the filling:

  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1/4c + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half, cream, or milk
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • 1c pecans, lightly toasted
  • additional 1/4tsp salt, to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add in salt. Stir in flour 1/2c at a time. The mixture will seem very crumbly. (Don’t panic. This is just how shortbread works.)
  2. Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with nonstick spray and press shortbread mixture into the dish, using your fingertips or a small glass. Try to make the surface as even as you can, but don’t worry about small grooves from your fingers. Prick surface with a fork in about a dozen places.
  3. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  4. While shortbread is baking, make caramel sauce by combining butter, honey, half-and-half, brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil about 3 minutes (surface will look frothy and have large bubbles). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and pecans
  5. When shortbread is finished cooking, remove from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.
  6. Allow shortbread to cool about 5 minutes before pouring caramel filling over top. Spread as evenly as possible over shortbread. Bake about 10-12 minutes at 325 or until edges are bubbly and center is no longer very wobbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.