October 20, 2014

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars

I have a very healthy “fight or flight” reflex. Well, maybe I shouldn't say it’s healthy because I tend to fight. Which might be the wrong decision one day. Like, for instance, the time I punched Husband in the temple when he popped his head in the shower to say goodbye. When I opened my eyes after rinsing my hair and there was a big hairy head in front of me my first instinct was to smash it with a right jab. And then he didn't talk to me for two days. Whoopsie….

I might have good survival skills when it comes to imminent danger but when I’m faced with a touchy or overwhelming situation I’m often completely useless because I erupt in laughter. Peels of it. Like last week when Husband suddenly had a mild allergic reaction to some mixed nuts he was eating, I just sat there and laughed at him. How horrible is that?! In my defense, it was funny. He jumped up off the couch and landed clear across the living room like someone had stuck him with a cattle prod. Which was hilarious. And then he said, “I can’t breathe! Something’s going on! It feels like my throat is closing up!” To which I told him if he could say all that he was obviously still breathing. The irony of which struck me as even more hilarious. Then he started arguing with me about the definition of choking, while still claiming to be choking, which made me laugh harder. I got some benedryl in him and all was well but I’m pretty sure I’m still going to hell for it.

So I felt a itty bit guilty for making these knowing Husband is off nuts until we can figure out which one of the assortment caused his reaction last week. But I was making room in the freezer and found a small bag of pecans I wanted to use up so I went with it.

I love these bars! So much so that I was secretly happy I wouldn't have to share them! The bottom layer is a tender shortbread crust that’s topped with pecans and coarse-grain salt, an easy homemade caramel layer and finished off with melted chocolate. You won’t believe how easy these are to make and they look and taste like something from a la-tee-da bakery!

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars. A tender shortbread crust that’s topped with pecans and coarse-grain salt, an easy homemade caramel layer and finished off with melted chocolate. You won’t believe how easy these are to make and they look and taste like something from a la-tee-da bakery!

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars. A tender shortbread crust that’s topped with pecans and coarse-grain salt, an easy homemade caramel layer and finished off with melted chocolate. You won’t believe how easy these are to make and they look and taste like something from a la-tee-da bakery!

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars
Shortbread crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Everything else:
1 heaping cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or coarse-grain salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2/3 cups sugar
2 cups (12-oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the crust combine all ingredients and beat on low with an electric mixer (paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) until incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed between your fingers. Shortbread doughs are dry and meal-like. As long as it holds when you pinch it together, you’re good to go. Press shortbread dough evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9 baking pan.

Sprinkle pecans and kosher salt over dough; set aside.

To make the caramel, combine butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, continue cooking for exactly 3 minutes. Pour caramel evenly over pecans without scraping the bottom of the saucepan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. Remove from oven then sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel. Wait 5 minutes for chocolate to melt and become pliable then spread evenly over caramel layer.

Once cool and chocolate is set (it takes forever for the chocolate to set so… sorry about that) cut into squares and store in an airtight container.


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