This delicious treat came right out of 'The Modern Baker' by Nick Malagieri. Caramel Crumb Bars are a bit more dressy than the ordinary bars I usually make. I think it is the delicious Caramel Filling. Whatever it is this bar is one you want to make when you have company for dinner or to take to a new mother or someone who has just had surgery. It will be appreciated. I know.
So here are the directions from Nicks Cook Book.
Caramel Crumb Bars
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups AP flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 16 ounce sweetened condensed milk
Butter a 9x13 inch pan, line with parchment and butter again, makes 24 bars about 2 inches square.
1. Set rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350.
2. For the dough, beat the butter with the sugar and salt in an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes Add vanilla.
3. On the lowest speed beat in 2 1/4 cups of the flour, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix until the dough is smooth and the flour is absorbed.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape 3/4 of the dough in the prepared pan. Press the dough down evenly without compressing it to much. Chill the dough lined pan. Work the remaining 1/4 cup flour into the remaining dough with your finger tips so that it forms 1/8 to 1/4 inch crumbs. Set aside.
5. For the filling, in a medium saucepan bring the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk to a simmer, stirring occasionally (says Nick). I burnt the batch I stirred occasionally. The second batch I stirred almost continuously, it worked much better for me. Allow the mixture to boil gently, stirring often until it starts to thicken and darken slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a stainless steel bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the dough lined pan from the refrigerator and scrape the cooled filling onto the dough, using a small offset spatula. Scatter the crumbs on the filling.
7. Bake until the filling is bubbling gently and is a deep caramel color and the dough and crumb topping are baked through about 30 minutes.
8. Cool the pan on a rack until lukewarm, 15-20 minutes. lift the slab of baked dough out of the pan and onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely. Cut into 2 inch squares.
I think when I make these again (like tomorrow) I will add some chopped pecans on top of the caramel.