Salted Caramel Butter Bars

This morning when I dropped my 1st grader off at school, I watched him from my car window until I could see him no more.  It was raining out so he had his rain jacket with a hood on and was holding his umbrella above his head.  He was walking fast to escape the rain and his red backpack was bouncing against his back.  For some reason, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  He looked so little and yet like such a big boy all at the same time. When he was finally out of sight and I began to drive away, I had this horrible lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  My little boy is growing up too fast!
Today watching him walk off to school, without my hand in his, was hard.
Bringing him home this afternoon and surprising him with a Salted Caramel Butter Bar was just the therapy I needed.
And to finish off the day, my sweet six year old boy asking me to rock him before tucking him in bed, made my heart full again.
Salted Caramel Butter Bars
For the Crust:
1 lb. salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
For the Filling:
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (51 caramels to be exact), unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
To make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 325F
Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy,
about 3-5 minutes.
Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Sift the flour and add to the butter mixture.
Mix on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Press about half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.
 Place the remainder of the dough in the fridge to chill.
Bake the crust for 20 minutes until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown.
While the crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling,
make the caramel filling.
Place the unwrapped caramels, heavy whipping cream and vanilla
in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium/low heat until completely melted and smooth.
Pour the caramel filling evenly over the crust.
Sprinke with sea salt.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator.
Crumble it evenly over the caramel.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
source:  adapted from Cookies & Cups

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  1. 1
    Heather says:

    I am crying just reading this!  What a bittersweet moment watching your baby boy grow up before your eyes!  On another note, these bars look amazing!  I have totally jumped on the “salted caramel bandwagon,” so I will be making these this weekend!

  2. 2
    Cindy MacLeod says:

    Bring on the tears. Oh my goodness lately I’ve been thinking the same thing about our sweet boy… So bittersweet. I will totally be making these this rainy weekend.

  3. 3
    Johnna coward says:

    It does fly by so fast…. We often focus on the “firsts” in life– first step first tooth first date– but rarely notice the “lasts”– the last rocking the last bath time the last hand hold—- cherish every waking moment– you never know if it’s a “last”

  4. 4
    Katie says:

    The last picture of these salted caramel butter bars is just beautiful. These sound fantastic. I’ve been on quite the salty kick lately. 

  5. 5
    Foodiewife says:

    Sometimes, I become very nostalgic when I look up at my 6’3 son. I miss the days when I was the center of his universe. I miss my little boy, but I do love my grown man, too. What a sweet surprise for your son. These are gorgeous! I’m such a caramel lover. I’m tempted to make these, with my homemade caramel. I hate unwrapping them! Beautiful shot!

  6. 6

    Bless your heart, it is hard for me to even see my nephew grow up… I can’t imagine if he was my son! Your pictures are always so gorgeous. These bars are definitely being made soon, I love salted caramel!

  7. 7
    Emily says:

    I also have a 6 year old little boy in Kindergarten…I understand.  He is growing up so fast.

    I found this on a pin and wanted to comment to let you know that I plan to make this recipe this weekend for a church fundraiser.  I am doing this mainly because I’m afraid that if I make them for our house, I will eat them ALL.
    This looks dreadfully sinful….thanks for sharing the recipe!! :)
    Emily recently posted..Newborn Earflap Hat — Baby Boy Creme Tweed with Brown Tweed TrimMy Profile

    • 8
      Emily says:

      Ok I made these for a school program…and everyone that had “one” came up to me and told me that they had at least 4.  These are scrumptious.  In fact, the leftovers are screaming at me from the pantry right now.  I must resist!!!  1 lb of butter, I don’t even want to know how many WW points those puppies are!!!! LOL…a delicious splurge.  My husband could not stop raving.  

  8. 9
    Michelle Sheridan says:

    I wish you lived closer, I could really use some of these for bedtime blues.

  9. 10
    Jessica says:

    Hi there – I am wondering if there were typos in the recipe – there was so much butter that after baking and serving there was a butter puddle on the bottom of the pan. Also, I used 2t instead of 2T vanilla and it seemed to be just fine. Thanks so much!

    • 11
      Allie says:

      No typos just LOTS OF BUTTER!!! I haven’t had the butter puddle in my pan maybe try mixing your dough more, or you could always try less butter too.

  10. 12
    Cathy Fuchs says:

    I can’t wait to try the bars but I wanted to say how much I loved the writing about your little boy going off to school.  I had some tears welling up too just reading it.  My last baby graduates this year…getting ready to cry again!  I cried when I sent my babies off to school too…of course never where they could see it.  You want them to fly but you want to hold them close too…it is indeed bittersweet!

  11. 13
    Denise says:

    My friend, Marci, found your super-yummy recipe on Pinterest, so she reviewed it for my blog: (Naturally, credit and links go to you.) Thanks for posting!
    Denise recently posted..Salted Caramel Butter Bars {Eat at Allie’s}My Profile

  12. 14
    Judith Conrad says:

    I would love to make these, but for some reason the recipe comes out on the right side of my screen and the ads are on top of it. I can’t get the ads off so I’m unable to read the recipe. I can see it in between the ads and can see part of the pictures, but not enough to make the bars. What can be wrong?

  13. 16
    utkari02 says:

    Made these tonight, they were delicious!!! :)

    I think next serving will involve a microwave and some vanilla ice cream. *drools*

  14. 17
    Shelsie says:

    Today my 5 year old graduated preschool and I too couldn’t believe how grown up he is. I was looking for something to treat his (and my) sweet tooth and this will be perfect to enjoy while chatting over our day’s events. Thank you.

  15. 18
    Holly says:

    Can’t wait to try these!  Thank you for very clear directions and GREAT photos. Being the visual person that I am, this really helps.

  16. 19
    Linda Ernst says:

    WOW…you’re a great mom.  Our daughter fixed the Salted Caramel Bars for us while she and her husband were visiting from Seattle.  They were the snack on the trip to our family cabin in Northern Michigan.  We ate them mindfully, appreciating them so that they lasted for several days while the rest of the family gathered.  So see, the children grow up and keep creating amazing memories around food.  All you can do is enjoy every moment, because they do fly by.  

  17. 20
    sheila robinson says:

    In a span of 3 ( three) days..I have made salted caramel bars twice!! They are a big hit… thanks!

  18. 21
    Katie says:

    Can’t wait to try these

  19. 22
    shytana says:

    so I am making these right now and the dough is very sticky, it doesnt feel like dough at all. i have added more flour and its still just sticky and weird. i dont like this so far I feel like its not going to turn out :(

  20. 23
    shytana says:

    yea this is bad, its not turning out at all. all because of the dough. its too fluffy and nothing like dough. I followed the recipe exactly. I have never had issues with a recipe before :(

  21. 25
    Dina says:

    they look delicious!
    Dina recently posted..Two for Tuesday: Desserts in a GlassMy Profile

  22. 26

    Wow!  These are incredible!  I have been on a salted caramel kick lately and I am so happy I found this recipe (and your amazing site, thanks to Pinterest!)  
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme recently posted..Pumpkin RisottoMy Profile

  23. 27
    Sabrina Fairbrother says:

    Made these today and they were out of this world. There was only one bag of caramels left at the store, I threw in some werthers and they worked out perfect. 

  24. 28
    Colleen says:

    I made these for work today. They turned out great! I did have extra dough left though on both batches, will probably see what I can do with it. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad I found this on Pinterest.

  25. 29

    I’m going to bake these this weekend for a family get-together… when I opened this post to get the recipe, your story about your son really got me.  My first baby is 6 weeks old and I just want to freeze her in time!  I’m sure you know the feeling.

    Thanks for sharing… and can’t wait to try these delicious-looking bars!
    Carissa @ Pretty/Hungry recently posted..Tunnel of Fudge Cake (for Chris’s Birthday!)My Profile

  26. 30
    Karen says:

    I don’t know why but I couldn’t taste the caramel that well in them, and I used what the recipe called for.  

  27. 31
    Lex says:

    You need to add a print button that just prints the recipe, this site prints 18 pages. I will not print it because the ink is soooo much and 18 pages is terrible.

    • 32
      Allie says:

      I’m sorry it is so many pages to print. I hope to one day have an easy print option for my recipes. I’m just not that tech savvy yet…

    • 33
      Margie says:

      Just copy and paste to word and delete any info you don’t want before printing. I do this for every recipe I print from my computer(and you can make the print larger too).

  28. 34
    Kara says:

    Do you know if these freeze well?

  29. 36
    Alicia says:

    I came across this recipe on pinterest a couple weeks ago. I made them right away, and brought them to my office - they were such a hit! Everyone (including myself) absolutely loved them  and came back for seconds! I was a little skeptical of the sea salt, but it balances out the super sweetness of the shortbread and caramel really nicely…these cookies are so addicting! Thanks for this recipe (and the very clear instructions with great pictures)! =)

  30. 37
    Shaina says:

    Made these for my second time for the holidays!! Sooooooo good! Thanks for sharing :)

  31. 38
    Steph_anie says:

    I have a really dumb question. I don’t cook a lot, but trying to get more into it. Could I use a glass pan to make these instead of a metal one?

    • 39
      Allie says:

      I’m sure a glass dish would work just fine :)

      • 40
        Melissa says:

        I used a glass dish and it worked great. Also – where I am in Raleigh, NC the Kraft caramels come in an 11oz bag (not 15oz). There were 40 caramels in the bag (not 51). I didn’t want to buy two bags, so I just reduced the heavy cream to 1/4 cup and otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I hadn’t made them before, so I don’t have a comparison, but I thought they were perfect. Big crowd-pleaser!!

  32. 42
    Geri-Ann says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing, these look AMAZING! I will be making these s soon as the butter softens!

  33. 43
    kendra says:

    these are in the oven, can’t wait to try one!

  34. 44
    AJ says:

    curious- why not brown sugar? Trying these today, found them via pinterest of course! :)

    • 45
      Allie says:

      I have never tried making these with brown sugar so I’m not sure if it would make a big difference or not. If you try it, let me know how they turn out :)

  35. 46
    Rebecca says:

    Had these at a brunch a couple weeks ago and my whole brunch consisted of salted caramel bars!  They are FABULOUS!  Wonder if you could email me the recipe though as I’m having the same problem on my screen that one of the previous folks had…and with the pictures and ads the recipe is going to be printed on 24 pages!  If you could I would really appreciate it (and so will my husband and grown kids this Sunday for Easter dessert!)  Thanks!  Rebecca

  36. 47
    Rachel says:

    Do you think almond milk would work as a substitute for the heavy whipping cream.

  37. 48
    LouAnn says:

    I’m sitting here with a lump in my throat too. Remembering the big yellow bus taking my little ones away…and leaving my son off alone at college ( The  lump just got bigger). In 5 days my grand babies will be getting off the bus here and I can’t wait to surprise them with these sweet treats.thank you for sharing your heart and theats.

  38. 49

    THESE LOOK AMAZING!!!!! Do you think this would work with home made caramel sauce?

  39. 51
    Della says:

    Mine are in the oven! Made them using your dough recipe and my homemade salted caramel- can’t wait to try them! Thank you for the recipe!

  40. 52
    lea searcy says:

    These look awesome! I have kosher salt. Can that b used instead of sea salt?

  41. 53
    Naz says:

    This is the second time I’ve made your recipe and both times everyone who’s had a bar ABSOLUTELY LOVES THEM! 
    Second time I used organic ingredients and it was just as delicious! 
    Thank you!