Have you been to Starbucks recently and looked in their bakery case? They have these amazing little Salted Caramel Bars that I’ve been eyeballing for a few weeks…
Well, Monday I finally caved in and bought one! The first thing I noticed was how much the caramel tastes like the salted caramel that I make. The second thing I noticed was how easy these were going to be to copycat, and started on the recipe right away.
Let me just tell you, these aren’t a perfect copycat, I think mine are better. Booyah! Take that Starbucks!
It’s very easy and I figured since my birthday was coming up, I get to splurge a bit in the delicious department.
In fact my birthday is today! Nom!
I was planning on making some salted caramel cupcakes, because according to Charlie, I “owed him a cake”… see I threw away his cake after a week of it sitting in my fridge and me going in and eating “slivers” of it… but after I realized 5 slivers made a slice and I was the only one eating it, I tossed it. I needed the room… but OF COURSE he comes home that day and wanted a slice. Anyway…
I used the left over caramel from Charlie’s birthday cake to make these little bars. It’s a good thing too, because it was starting to get grainy… that answers the “how long does this caramel keep in the fridge?” question.
The answer is 4 weeks. Blerg.
Start by making the salted caramel, or if you have some left over in the fridge from 4 weeks ago than you canned, place the jar of caramel in a pot of simmering water to melt.
The original recipe found here will make more caramel than you will need for this recipe. You can either half it for this recipe, or double the this bar recipe and make a bigger pan of these bars. Either or. Or make the whole thing and save the other half for the cake!
Besides the ingredients below for the caramel and crust, you will also need a bag of chocolate chips (milk or semi, your choice) and a bag of pretzel sticks.
Salted Caramel (from here.)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cups heavy cream
- Coarse salt
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into tablespoons
Start by taking a really heavy, large saucepan… the biggest one you’ve got cuz this can have a tendency to boil over and it’s a huge mess to clean up later. Don’t mess with burned sugar. You can omit the corn syrup if you want, but you’ll need to add more sugar and a bit of water. I’ve done it both ways and it came out the same. Essentially you’ll make your own sugar syrup and omit the corn syrup.. if this sounds too confusing, just go with the corn syrup.
To your heavy saucepan, over medium high heat, add the sugars and water and stir to combine, and then just leave it be. Every now and then you might need to kind of nudge the sugars around if it doesn’t look like they are melting down, but other than that keep your hands off of it. It will start to melt down and liquify and then begin to turn an amber color. At this point you will also smell the beginning of burning sugar. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Don’t let it burn!
Remove the pan from heat and slowly stir in the cream, 1/4 cup at a time and mix until incorporated. It will spatter so be careful. Once smooth, put it back on the heat for another 2-5 minutes (or until it reaches 238*). This is when it will boil over. It should look very bubbly and creamy. Once again remove from heat and add a generous pinch of flake salt. Not table salt!!! Use a kosher salt flake. Morton’s or Maldon works fine. Let the caramel mixture cool for a few minutes and then add the butter in a few tablespoons at a time, stirring to incorporate it all together. Let it sit and cool for at least 30 minutes.
Next make the crust… (if you’re making a big pan, double it. This recipe is for a 9×9 pan.)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Add salt and sugar to flour and stir. Add butter and mix until incorporated.
Press into a 9×9 square pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, crush the pretzel sticks into pieces. You should have about 2-3 cups of crushed pieces.
Add your cooled caramel and mix together.
If you need more pretzels, crush more, if you need more caramel pour more. Eye ball it until the consistency looks good. Keep a bit of caramel to drizzle on top of the bars reserved.
Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven off. Pour the caramel/pretzel mixture over the crust and spread around evenly with a spatula.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and place the baking dish back in the oven for about 3-5 minutes, to allow caramel to settle and chocolate to soften.
Pull out, and spread the chocolate evenly over the bars. Drizzle reserved caramel on top and let cool at least 1 hour.
Cut into squares and serve.
Never buy them again for $3 each.
Have you tried the Starbucks version? Will you be trying mine? Let me know what you think!