Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars (averiecooks)

Crust

1/2 c unsalted butter, very soft
1 c flour
1/4 c confectioners’ sugar
1 T cornstarch
pinch salt to taste (opt)
2 c roasted salted pecans, halves or pieces okay (can use Trader Joe’s roasted salted halves)
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8″ baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray (for easier cleanup); set aside. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except pecans and chocolate chips, and using 2 forks or your hands, cut butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed and pea sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quicker and easier it is. Turn mix out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer. Evenly sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips over top; set pan aside. Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans. Place pan on a cookie sheet (as insurance against overflow) and bake for about 30 – 32 min or until caramel is bubbling vigorously around edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 3 hours or overnight (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan inside large Ziplock), before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Filling

1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c whipping cream or heavy cream
1 T vanilla
1/2 t salt or to taste

In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, whipping cream and heat on high power for 1 min to melt. Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mix is smooth; it’s okay if butter hasn’t completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 min on high power. Remove bowl from micro and whisk until mix is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.

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