recipe || salted caramel & chocolate pecan pie bars


Though my Instagram account might suggest otherwise I really do make things other than sweets in our home. The crisp, chilly fall days just call for baking and every recipe I have tried of late has been received with cheers and hugs and dancing around and when that happens the recipe must be shared.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

pinch salt, optional and to taste

Filling

8 ounces roasted salted pecans, halves or pieces okay; about 2 cups*

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips**

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust - In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and using two forks or your hands, cut butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed and pea-sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quick and easier it is. 

Turn mixture out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer.

Filling - Evenly sprinkle the pecans over the crust. Evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips; set pan aside. 

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt. Remove bowl from microwave, and whisk until mixture is smooth; it's okay if butter hans't completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power. Remove bowl from microwave, and whisk until mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans. 

Place pan on a cookie sheet (as insurance against overflow) and bake for about 30 to 32 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling vigorously around edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 3 hours, or overnight (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan inside large Ziplock), before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 minutes.

original recipe via pinterest

*I used the same pecans she suggested there -- from Trader Joes. 

**semisweet chocolate chunks are good, too. ;)

Enjoy, my friends!