Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Caramel Nut Bars

Caramel Nut Bars (Adapted from MS Baking Handbook)
*Be sure to read our review before you attempt this recipe...

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup salted cashews
1 cup salted peanuts
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350

Scatter nuts on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and let toast until lightly golden - about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread nuts on a cutting board to cool. Chop coarsely.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together 16 tablespoons butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt - mix just until combined.

Scoop mixture into a 10 x 15" baking pan lined with parchment paper and lightly coated with nonstick spray. Press dough into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake until it begins to turn a light golden, about 10 to 12 minutes - remove and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

In a large heavy saucepan, combined granulated sugar, 1 cup water, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and cream of tartar. Heat over high and cook, without stirring, until the sugar melts and begins to turn a light golden - about 5-8 minutes. Bring the heat down to medium and continue cooking, stirring often, until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees. Stirring constantly, slowly pour the heavy cream down the side of the saucepan and mix until completely combined - be very careful at this step as the mixture bubbles up. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until the butter melts and is combined into the caramel. Carefully pour mixture into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the nuts into the caramel mixture and stir to evenly coat. Spread this mixture evenly over the baked and cooled crust. The pan should be very full at this point. Place back in the oven and let cook until the edges are bubbling - about 10-12 minutes. Carefully remove the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack - cut into squares.

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  1. I never have any luck with Martha recipes and have been hesitant to try anything from this book. This was actually the one recipe that jumped out at me and that I was thinking of making soon. Thanks for the heads up. Although, honestly, I don't think they look that bad in your picture.

  2. Jen - We've made a couple things that turned out okay - I'm just disappointed as it sounded much better on paper!

  3. These look very similar to the Salted Nut Bars that Goin'Coastal posted on CLBB, but the ingredient list is a little different. Hers are EXCELLENT! If you are up for another try, I would highly recommend them.

  4. Kathy B - I'll have to look for them, thanks!