If you happened to see my salted caramel-pecan bark last week, these bars will look familiar – they’re simply a spin-off of that recipe. I swapped the chocolate layer for a brown butter shortbread crust, kept the brown sugar caramel layer (no need to touch perfection!), and used roasted cashews plus sea salt as the topping.
The verdict? These salted caramel-cashew bars are incredibly indulgent, and if you like a little salt with your sweets, you’ll find these bites quite enticing. There’s only one way to choose a favorite: make both recipes and plan a taste-off!
Salted Caramel-Cashew Bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Brown Sugar Caramel
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup light brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup cashews
Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a glass bowl and chill in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch baking dish with foil. Whisk together flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Dice solidified brown butter into 1/2-inch pieces; sprinkle over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add dough to prepared baking dish; use a piece of parchment to press dough into an even layer. Bake for 23 minutes, until crust is lightly golden. Cool on wire rack.
Place butter and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan. Melt over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until boiling. Once mixture boils, reduce temperature to medium-low and let bubble for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; carefully add salt and vanilla (mixture will bubble up). Quickly pour caramel over shortbread layer and spread with an offset spatula. Top with cashews, pressingly gently to adhere; sprinkle with sea salt. Chill in the refrigerator until completely set, about 1 hour.
Carefully lift foil and place bars on a cutting board; use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Store leftover squares in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yield – 16 squares (serving size: 1 square)
Calories – 185
Carbs – 16