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Caramel Turtle Bars

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Yields about 4 dozen 1-1/2-inch-square bars

  • To learn more, read:
    Raising the Bar Cookie
  • by Nicole Rees from Fine Cooking
    Issue 82

For the crust:
  • Non-stick cooking spray, vegetable oil, or melted butter for the pan
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached allpurpose flour
Tip:
For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
For the caramel topping:
  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
For the ganache:
  • 6 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 2 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Make the shortbread crust:

Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the foil (not the bottom) with nonstick cooking spray, oil, or melted butter to prevent the caramel from sticking.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the dough for 20 minutes, and then decrease the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the crust is golden all over and completely set, about 15 more minutes.

Make the topping:

 Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the crust.

In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until all the ingredients are melted and smooth. Let the mixture continue to boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F, about 6 more minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately (but carefully) pour the caramel evenly over the prepared crust. Let the bars cool completely, about 2 hours, before garnishing with the ganache.

Make the ganache:

Put the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.

Fill a plastic zip-top baggie with the ganache, snip the tip off a corner, and drizzle the ganache decoratively over the caramel bars (you don’t have to use all the ganache; keep the extra in the fridge for 5 days). Let the ganache set for 30 minutes to an hour. Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-1/2-inch squares. They will keep at room temperature for 1 week.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per bar; Calories (kcal): 160; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 45; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 1;

Fantastic flavor. The instructions were perfect. It was not complicated and I learned how to make a wonderful caramel topping.

Made this years ago, remember it as pretty good. So I tried it again, using some butter cookie dough that I froze as Christmas for the crust. Object lesson: golden syrup (treacle) is NOT interchangeable with corn syrup (in case you were wondering).

I made them and everyone loved them. I stores the carmel overnight and heated it up over a double boiler, and I didn't notice the pecans were supposed to be underneath it, so a cup was underneath the carmel and a cup was on top, either way they were delicious.

WOW! these are great. They were a hit at our house. A bit time consuming to make the first time, but after you have it down its smooth sailing on sea's of rich, nutty chocolatey goodness ddl

I made these as holiday gifts and loved them! The crust is crisp, the caramel is chewy but firm enough to slice, and there is just the right amount of nuts. The only thing I did differently was to chill the entire pan overnight, wrapped tightly, before slicing the bars. I used a long serrated knife and a ruler to keep the cuts even and was rewarded with perfect squares. I will make this again and again!

Very rich and creamy. Very nice.

Although it is a little time consuming, it is well worth the effort. The results are scrumptious and the comments from family and guests are always very positive.

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