#ImprovCookingChallenge ~ Caramel Cashew Bars
I am so glad I participated in the #ImprovCookingChallenge this month! For November 2016 we were given the ingredients of nuts and caramel to combine into a recipe. This of course gives you pretty much endless options. I ran to my trusty Pinterest to do some searching and when I ran across this incredibly simple but amazing looking recipe I knew what I was making.
I am very, very glad that I did. The shortbread crust on this dessert recipe is amazing. It's so tender and flaky, lightly sweet, and rich and buttery. It's just a perfect base for the incredibly rich caramel and nut topping. Cut these small - like bites of fudge - and you will have a PERFECT treat for your upcoming Holiday baked good platters! This will be a favorite in no time!
Caramel Cashew Bars from Center Cut Cook
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
11-oz caramels, unwrapped (1 bag, or about 1 3/4 cup measured)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup unsalted whole cashews
Sea salt for sprinkling, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, flour and salt. Mix until completely combined (I let my Kitchen Aid mix everything up until coarse crumbs and it worked well).
- Press shortbread mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges.
- Let cool completely before topping with caramel.
- In a large, microwaveable bowl or measuring cup, combine caramels and whipping cream. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between. It should take about 1 1/2 minutes until it is completely smooth (each microwave is different, so adjust as needed).
- Mix in half of the cashews and carefully pour over the shortbread crust. Spread evenly and top with remaining cashews.
- Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.