Salted Caramel Bars
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups flour
1 -14 oz bag caramels, unwrapped
⅓ cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons fleur de sel salt or other coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line along all sides of a 9×13 pan parchment paper or aluminum foil. You do this so that the melted caramel does not stick to the pan. Lightly spray with a cooking spray. I've baked this using parchment paper and did not use the cooking spray, since there is so much butter you can skip this. I haven't tried it with aluminum foil though.
Cream together, butter, sugar, and powdered sugar. Then add 1 tablespoon vanilla and beat until mixture is combined. Add flour and mix it all together until it forms a soft dough.
Split the dough mixture in half and press one half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Place the other half of the dough into the refrigerator to be used later. Bake dough for 15 minutes. (Dough does not have to brown, you just want it to bake a bit before adding next step.)
When done remove dough from the oven. Next melt the caramels, heavy cream and ½ teaspoon of vanilla in the microwave for 1 minute. Check after the first minute, stir and heat again if necessary. It should be a smooth and creamy texture.
Next, pour the caramel mixture evenly over the baked dough to cover. Then sprinkle the fleur de sel evenly over the caramel.
Using the refrigerated dough, crumble it over the top of the caramel. I only use about half of the dough, you can use it all for a more cakey texture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until caramel is bubbling. Cool completely before cutting.
Hint for cutting the squares: Take a sharp knife and dip into a glass of hot water, wipe water off knife and cut the squares into the desired size. This method will help you get neatly cut bars.