Holiday Cookie Countdown: Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars_1_small

Judging by the sounds everyone made when they took a bite of these, I think they’re pretty much amazing. A buttery shortbread crust slathered in caramel and sprinkled with sea salt? You might as well surrender right now. You will swoon over these.

Looking for more Holiday Countdown cookies? Here you go!

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars_2_2_small

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars
You can also make your own caramel to pour on top, but you guys get frustrated with me when I make you do that. I’ve found the Trader Joe’s prepared caramel sauce is a great substitute! If you don’t have a TJ’s any good caramel sauce will do.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1/2 cup prepared caramel sauce (I like Trader Joe’s)
1/2 tbsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 8×8 pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side to use as “handles” later. Lightly grease foil with butter. (Do not spray with cooking spray as I think it makes the bars a little soggy on the bottom.)

Use and electric mixer to combine sugars and butter. Beat until creamy. Add vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix on low until dough is smooth.

Press 2/3 of the dough into an even layer in the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden. Refrigerate remaining dough while crust is baking.

Once you remove crust from oven top with caramel and sprinkle with coarse salt. Take remaining dough and crumble over the top of the caramel layer – do not press or spread – leave in crumbles. Return pan to the oven & bake 25-35 minutes or until golden & filling is bubbly. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes 12 bars.

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