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gooey caramel cashew bars

So I have sort of a “history” with infestations and bugs.  In my apartment throughout PT school my roommate and I encountered cockroaches, mice, and amazingly enough, a farret.  All within the first two months of living there.  On a trip to Jamaica for a friends wedding, I obtained a parasite in my foot(we named him Parasite Pete) from walking barefoot in the sand.  So it’s no surprise that during the four weeks that I’m in the Dominican Republic, it would be just my luck to catch a bug.  So here I am, on a beautiful sunny day in the Dominican Republic, laying in bed, making rushed trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes, drinking my weight in Pepto Bismol, and counting down the minutes until I can take my next dose of Immodium.  Fun times.

Since eating food just makes me feel even worse, the best I can do is look at it and share something yummy with my readers.  I made these bars a long time ago for my Aunt Penny and her greens and chocolate reading friends, and somehow have managed to keep them from you for too long!  Before you go into shock after seeing there are 4 sticks of butter in these bars, let me tell you why it’s worth it.  They’re a combination of gooey, salty, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, and oh-so-rich all packed into one bar and all you really need is one small piece at a time.  And that would only be like a tablespoon of butter.  I promise you it’s worth it.  But I can’t promise you won’t go back for another little slice 5 minutes later.  Just make sure you have lots and lots of friends to share with.  
Gooey Caramel Butter Bars
from Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey by Jill OConner

for the crust:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour

for the filling:
1(14 oz) bag caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1 cup chopped nuts (I used cashews, can also use walnuts or pecans)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  

To make the crust: in a large bowl with electric mixture, combine and beat the butter and powdered and granulated sugars until creamy.   Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.  Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.  Pat the remaining dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
While the bottom crust is baking and remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling:  Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add the cream, vanilla, and salt.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Sprinkle the nuts over the bottom crust.  Pour the caramel filling over the nuts, using a small metal spatula to nudge the filling evenly over the crust.  Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it even over the caramel.  Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubble and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Use a sharp knife to cut the bars evenly into 15 large squares.  Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and, if desired, cut in half on the diagonal to form 30 triangular bars.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
The bars will keep, covered tightly at room temperature, for about 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Enjoy!  

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  1. Caramel and cashews are one of the best combinations in existence! Loving these bars, makes me hungry just thinking about them!

  2. Yes, these are it! Thanks so much for “finally” posting the recipe. These bars are sooo yummy.

    Hope you’re feeling better very soon!


  3. Aww girl! I hope you feel better soon! It’s always a bummer to be feeling bad when in such a beautiful place!

    And trust me, the 4 sticks of butter do not phase me (should it? lol), so I just know these bars taste fantastic!

  4. Oh no I hope you start feeling better!!!

    These bars look absolutely amazing…cashews and caramel…mmmm