Cashew Caramel Shortbread Bars have a buttery shortbread layer topped with homemade caramel, crunchy cashews, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
If you’ve been around here before, then it’s probably no surprise to you that I love making cookies and bars. I love making them all year round, so when it finally comes time for holiday baking, I get extra excited because it means everyone else is jumping all in on the baking bandwagon with me – at least for the month.
Every November and December, I fill my kitchen with recipe successes and failures for every type of cookie, candy, and bar I can to share with you the best of what comes out of my kitchen. And then, you have all you need to make the best of my kitchen come out of yours, ready to share with your friends and family for the holidays.
Now, it’s not even December yet, but I can definitely tell you that these Cashew Caramel Shortbread Bars are going to be a 2015 standout. Buttery shortbread topped with luscious homemade caramel, crunchy Planters cashews, and a sprinkle of sea salt – what more could you want?
I know some folks are anti-nuts in their baked goods, but I love nuts – especially during the holidays, both in recipes and for entertaining. I can snack on Planters cashews all day…and I definitely did while I was making this recipe. While they are fantastic on their own, this recipe really helps the shine.
The buttery shortbread crust is only made with three ingredients and provides a delicious base for the bars that’s sturdy enough to hold up to the caramel and cashews but soft enough to melt in your mouth. Homemade caramel gets poured over the cashews on top of the cooled crust and a few more minutes in the oven helps the caramel get firm and chewy.
I waited for the bars to cool completely (painful, I tell you) and added a sprinkle of fleur de sel to add a hint of saltiness to help play with the sweetness of the caramel. Of course, if you’re not into the salty sweet thing as much as I am, skip it! You could also use Planters mixed nuts in place of the cashews if you want a little extra variety in your life, and your desserts.
Just one of these Cashew Caramel Shortbread Bars will satisfy your sweet tooth. Add them to this year’s holiday baking list and you can be the star of the cookie exchange. Enjoy!
For the shortbread
- ⅔ cup butter (softened)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
For the caramel
- ¾ cups sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (roughly cut into pieces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups salted roasted cashews
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup butter, white sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into a 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven but keep it on. Let cool while you prepare the caramel cashew layer.
- Place sugar in a nonstick saucepan over medium high heat. Let stand until bottom layer of sugar begins to melt, then start stirring, continuing to stir until sugar has turned light brown in color and smooth in texture. Pour in heavy cream, being careful of it splattering. Stir constantly until mixture is smooth again, about 5 minutes. Turn down heat and stir in butter, vanilla, and salt. Take mixture off heat and stir in cashews. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the caramel is all bubbling.
- Let cool completely before cutting. Cut into 16 bars.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Dessert
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and provided product samples by Kraft Foods, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.