I have a love affair with caramel.
I honestly think I could live without
my husband chocolate before I could do without caramel (just kidding honey!). Give me a box of 100 assorted chocolates and I can pick out the one that is just a plain ol’ chocolate covered caramel 9 times out of 10. My sister makes these UH-MAZING homemade caramels at Christmas time and gives them as gifts and I have taken to not letting anyone else in my family have any…nice spirit of sharing, right?! I find myself wondering about a person (even my 7-year-old son) if they choose the hot fudge sundae at McDonald’s over the hot caramel. They do not even COMPARE in my mind! I have recently become obsessed with the salted caramel pudding that’s available at California Pizza Kitchen right now. If you have one within an hour of your house (or maybe even two), get in your car. Now. It is that worth it. If you don’t, stay tuned because I am determined to either replicate the recipe or at least come up with something similar that could compare.
When Wendy had her cookie exchange this past December, I made these apple cider caramel cookies but I somehow vastly overestimated how many of the Kraft caramels I would need to buy. I was looking at my 2 1/2 bags of caramels in my cabinet wondering what the heck I was going to do with them barring making a LOT of caramel apples or just giving them to Erin who LOVES them. Being the good friend that I am, I decided to spare Erin’s waistline and just try to find a recipe that called for them and sounded good (and then feed her THOSE). I must say this is one of those times that I stumbled upon a recipe and hit the darn jackpot! I found it on the Kraft website (of all places — duh) and only changed the recipe the teeniest bit by adding more caramel (of course) and a little bit of salt.
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 35 Kraft caramels
- 2½ Tbsp. water
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 2 squares Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Process the pecans in food processor until very fine…like sand. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, pecans, salt and cracker crumbs; mix well. Remove ¼ cup of the crumb mixture; set aside. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 18 min. or until lightly browned.
- Melt caramels with water in heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring frequently until caramels are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved ¼ cup crumb mixture, the marshmallows and chopped chocolate.
- Bake an additional 12 min. and then broil for another 1 to 2 minutes, keeping a close eye, until marshmallows are lightly browned. Cool. Cut into 20-24 bars to serve.