#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

Caramel Layer
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


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. 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).
  3. Press shortbread mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges.
  4. Let cool completely before topping with caramel.
Caramel Layer
  1. 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).
  2. Mix in half of the cashews and carefully pour over the shortbread crust. Spread evenly and top with remaining cashews.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. 


  1. Shortbread + caramel + cashews? Oh my.

  2. Of all the nuts to mix with caramel, I do believe cashews are my favorite! (Not even going to mention how much I ♥ shortbread cookies...)


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