Is it too late in January to talk about New Years resolutions? I don’t do resolutions; I’ve never actually kept a resolution past January 2. But I set goals, which in my mind are more nebulous, and therefore easier to keep.
I have two goals for 2016:
- find a recipe for really good homemade pizza and
- make my life look more like life on Pinterest
I briefly considered eliminating sugar from my diet as a third goal, but let’s not go crazy. Good homemade pizza will be hard enough.
This recipe brings me closer to goal number two. I found these bars on Pinterest and oh my holy cow, they are SO CRAZY DELICIOUS. Salted caramel butter bars. How could a person go wrong with a recipe like that?
Answer: a person could not go wrong. These are so totally incredible that I’m not sorry about the countless hours I’ve spent “pinning” in the last couple of weeks.
Which brings me to some news: my blog is now on social media! You can follow the itsy bitsy kitchen on Pinterest, like us Facebook, and even follow on Instagram. (Although currently I have zero Instagram posts and don’t see that changing in the near future. Maybe when I take a decent photo. We’ll see. I’ll keep you apprised.)
I’m still working out the social media kinks because I’m so not a technical genius, as you can see from the weird picture of myself above the “like page” button to the right. (I totally just typed “left” instead of “right”—I’m directionally challenged.)
But back to these bars. They’re really easy. It’s a very simple, very buttery and vanilla-y shortbread base that comes together in a snap. And the bars are packed full of oozing salted caramel! (If you have vanilla bean paste definitely use that instead of vanilla extract in the shortbread—the base is so simple that the extra vanilla punch from the paste really shines.)
And the salted caramel sauce is premade. As in, from the store. You don’t have to make your own! Life could not be easier than opening a jar of caramel sauce.
If you have a favorite recipe for salted caramel sauce, you can use that. (Or go on Pinterest and use one of the thousands floating around there.) But if not, just buy it. I used Smucker’s but it wasn’t quite salty enough for me so I sprinkled a little more salt on top of the sauce after I poured it into the crust. Feel free to add more or less salt as your own tastes dictate.
This recipe can easily be doubled—I halved the original recipe. Use a 13- by 9-inch pan if you double it. (You should probably double it. These are really, really good.)
Make a batch now, and while they’re baking follow me on the time-sucking glory that is social media. We’ll have so much fun together!
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup salted caramel sauce
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8- x 8-inch square baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine butter and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Sift the flour and salt into the butter-sugar mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Press 1/3 of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Wrap remaining dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Bake crust until firm and golden brown at the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Pour caramel sauce over the crust and spread it into an even layer. (If your caramel sauce has been refrigerated, you may need to zap it in the microwave to make it pourable.) Sprinkle sea salt over caramel, if using.
- Remove remaining crust from the fridge and crumble it evenly over the caramel sauce.
- Return to the oven and bake until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly golden, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
So good. . .