Salted Caramel Amaranth Butter Bars
It has been a wicked-cool week here on Organic Grains but we're ready for the weekend. Aren't you? So, one thing we like to do is also give you some really evil delicious things to make with whole grain. These amaranth salted caramel butter bars are the Devil. Really. You just need them in your life. Here's the deal. Using Amaranth flour with the regular flour gives them a nutty hearty flavor. It's the perfect complimentary nuance to couple with butter and caramel. We think you'll agree.
Amaranth Salted Caramel Butter Bars
For the Crust:
Butter, softened| 1 lb.
Sugar| 1 cup
Powdered Sugar| 1½ cups
Vanilla| 2 Tbsp.
All Purpose Flour| 3 cups
Amaranth Flour| 1 cup
For the Filling:
Caramel Candies| 1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
Cream| ⅓ cup cream
Vanilla Bean Paste| ½ tsp
Sea Salt| 1 Tbsp.
Rum Extract| ¼ tsp
Cayenne pepper |¼ tsp
To make the crust: In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until smooth soft dough forms. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Preheat to 325F. Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approx 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream, vanilla bean paste, sea salt, rum extract, and cayenne. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.