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Monday, November 23, 2009

Salted Butterscotch Shortbread Bars


OK, I'm pretty sure these are my favorite. I know I say that all the time but I really mean it this time. This is a very old fashioned bar with a few adjustments (like the addition of salt) to perk it up a bit.

I tried to use it to bribe PW. All I want is to move into The Lodge. Is that too much to ask?

All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.


Ingredients: 1 1/4 c flour, 3 tbs brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 c butter, 1/4 c butter,, 1/3 cup each of granulated sugar, brown sugar and light-color corn syrup, 1 tbs water, 1/4 tsp table salt, 1/2 c coarsely chopped cashews, 1/4 c whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla. And about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2 inch pan or something kinda sorta like it with foil. I used a 7x11ish pan. Make sure the foil extends over the edges. Now butter that foil!


Lets make the crust. Do not be intimidated by pastry cutters. If I can do this, you can do this.

In a medium bowl mix 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.


Now cut in 1/2 cup of butter with a pastry blender. I like to cut it into chunks to start with.


Throw the chunks of butter (I like it cold) into the flour mixture and just press away. After a bit it will resemble course crumbs or sand.


Keep going and when it starts to cling together its ready.


Dump into the prepared pan and even out.


Press the mixture with something flat. Like a measuring cup.

This goes into the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Coarsely chop up some cashews. I use an overflowing 1/2 cup of chopped ones. I adore cashews.


Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a heavy medium saucepan. When the butter is melted go ahead and add in the 1/3 cup each of granulated sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup as well as the 1 tablespoon water and the 1/4 teaspoon of table salt. Mix it up and add in the chopped cashews.


Now don't go wandering away. Is there anything shiny by you? If so, please avert your eyes.

We need to bring this to a boil stirring constantly. Once its at a boil, continue stirring often for about 5 minutes. We don't want this practically boiling over or you'll end up with hard candy.

This bar is like me... it doesn't like to be ignored.


We turned the heat down at this point.

Be careful with this stuff if you have kids running around. Boiling sugar is like lava.


Take it off the heat and add the 1/4 cup of whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

How can anything with vanilla and whipping cream be bad?


You'll be drooling by the time you pull the crust from the oven. See those divets. Those are divets of love. They are the impressions the butter leaves as it melts. Much like the impressions it leaves on my thighs.

That is completely untrue. Everyone knows that treats made for other people don't count towards points or fat or calories or carbs or whatever. The same goes for treats received from someone else. Thats the glory of the cookie exchange.


Pour the butterscoth sauce evenly over the baked crust. Put it back into the oven for another 12 minutes.


It'll be bubbly so take it out with caution. If you have kids that won't stop running 'round the oven just tie them to something before you do this. You know, just for a moment.

Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack.


Now we are going to salt it. It needs more salt. Trust me on this.

I used sea salt because of the nice big granuals it has. You could also use kosher salt.

As the bars cool keep an eye on them. We want the top tacky so the salt adheres but not so hot the salt melts.


Just sprinkle the salt evenly over the top. You can ever so gently press it if it isn't sticking quite enough.

Do not use table salt as the granuals are too small and they will just melt right in.


When the bars are completely cool just peel the foil off and cut into squares.


Eat 5 and decide whether or not you want to sprinkle a bit more kosher salt on them. Eat another 2 and decide they are just perfect. Drink a glass of milk and put the plate away.

Casually pass by the kitchen twice more. Smell them. Stack them. Eat one more. Give the rest away immediately.


  1. These sound divine! I cannot make these without Z wanting to have a piece, so I might have to wait a bit... she's not allowed to have any nuts (yet).

  2. All I can say is that I'm so glad that I can not get to all of your goodies through the screen!. I wouldn't be able to get out the door!
    Those look absolutely Scrumptious!!!!!!

  3. Oh dear...these look too good.

    Read the book signing - fun!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Another yummy looking cookie! I made your mint chocolate ones last night, and they were SO. GOOD. I didn't have mint chips, so I added just the tiniest bit of pure mint extract into the melted chocolate and they turned out wonderful. A definite keeper, and saves me from buying mint chocolate oreos. ;)

  5. They look quite yummy considering there is no chocolate involved! And, I have never been directed to 'dump' anything when baking, I like it!!


  6. That salt is the perfect finishing touch. I bow to your greater expertise but if it were me I'd make these in a round tin. Then when you cut it up you'll be left with lots of bits with roundy edges. They're imperfect so you can't possibly give them away. It's your duty to eat them.

  7. I am SO going to try making these this year...YUM!

  8. okay ... I'm gaining weight just coming here ... but it all looks so wonderful

  9. Seriously these sounds amazing! I'll be right over...yummie! Happy Thanksgiving girl!
    P.s. did you get my e-mail? Did we miss you on Sat? do you want me to drop off your goods? :)

  10. i admire you for being so talented in the kitchen... i can't even bake cupcakes right. hahaha! ;P and i love your advice at the end..

  11. These look so good, they'd be dangerous around my waistline, er, household.

  12. Thanks a lot Dandy! Now I have one more thing to make before Christmas. Or this weekend. I really don't have any self control.

  13. I actually gasped when I saw the picture!!!!!!!

    MAKING these!

  14. Oh, yeah! Come to mama! And bring some milk with ya! :)

    Dandy the addition of salt totally makes these!

  15. Oh my, I've died and gone to heaven. I think these would be my favorite too. Love cashews, caramel and salt. Am for sure plsnning to make this! I am so glad that making baked goods for others negates all caloric value!

  16. Oh Lord give me strength. I must make these right now.

  17. Sweet and salty...Love that! I also love all the wonderful photos and step by step instructions you provide-So cool~Thanks~!

    My family is going to love these!


  18. I was hoping this was the next post coming! Yummy! I bet the salt takes these from being something I crave, to something I obsess over!!

    PS My kids are always tethered to the kitchen table. What? Is that bad?

  19. Oh, I do love a good bar. Sometime I'll have to post about my Ugly dessert. YUM!


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