Perhaps it’s because I’ve been possessed by some kind of sadistic shopping demon, but I’ve been to the mall three times in three days. Seriously, I don’t even know why I ended up there three days in a row, but each time, I cursed myself over my decision as I drove through the parking lot desperately seeking an empty space to no avail.
First, you get those people who exit the store and head down your aisle, only to weave through your aisle to get to another one where they’re parked. Um, HELLO, rude much? So I race to get to the next aisle over but am beat by another car and I just kinda lose it.
Then, you get the bag dropper-offers. Look, I understand completely. I, too, have carried heavy bags that were seconds away from making me a double amputee. I know that sometimes you just gotta drop that junk in the trunk and continue your shopping adventure. BUT. When I’ve been circling the parking lot unsuccessfully for 20 minutes and I’m having Auntie Anne’s withdrawals, I kind of want to dropkick those bag dropper offers in the face for taunting me.
And is it just me, or does anyone else get bitter when they aren’t followed to their car? Like, I spent twenty-minutes trying to find a parking spot that wasn’t 72 miles away and when I finally leave, no one’s waiting for me to pull out? No one’s following me to my car? No one’s asking me where I parked? Nothing? I just pull out and the world continues moving? Seriously, what gives? It’s only fair that others suffer in this parking nightmare, too, right? RIGHT?! Don’t answer that.
So while you’re driving in circles around the parking lot, you’re probably going to need some sustenance. I highly recommend these Salted Caramel Butter Bars since they’re extremely delicious and make parking-space-seeking bearable… or as bearable as it can get when you’re behind that dude that parks in the middle of the aisle just waiting for anyone to pull out. I hate that guy.
*adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Cookbook
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (11.5 oz) jar salted caramel sauce (I like Smuckers Brand Simple Delights, but Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel is great, too!)
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Lastly, beat in the four (4) cups of flour until a soft dough has formed. Press HALF of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the remaining dough.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Pour the caramel evenly into the crust, then crumble the remaining dough on top to cover the caramel layer. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and remember that there's salt in the caramel sauce, too 🙂
- Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the caramel is bubbly. If the middle jiggles a little bit, this is okay - it will continue to cook as it cools. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into squares.
I’ve made this recipe three times so far and every time my family and I fight for a piece! They are so rich and buttery, complete with that soft and tender sugar cookie crumb and the golden, decadent caramel layer. If you can’t find salted caramel sauce, or just want to cut back on the salt, feel free to use a regular caramel sauce (or make your own caramel!) and sprinkle a little more sea salt on top.
Love Salted Caramel? (Hey, me too!) Check out these other fantastic salted caramel recipes!
Have a fantastical day!