Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Yield: 8×8 or 9×9 pan
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch salt, optional and to taste
Salted Caramel Filling
8 ounces roasted salted pecans, halves or pieces okay; about 2 cups (I used Trader Joe’s roasted salted halves)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. I strongly urge lining the pan with foil for easier cleanup.
- Crust – In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and using two forks or your hands (I find hands easier), cut butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed and pea-sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quicker and easier it is.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer.
- Filling – Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
- Evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips; set pan aside.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth; it’s okay if butter hasn’t completely melted.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power.
- Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
- Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans.
- Place pan on a cookie sheet (as insurance against overflow) and bake for about 30 to 32 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling vigorously around edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 3 hours, or overnight (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan inside large Ziplock), before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.