White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Bars

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I made these a couple of days ago for Stephen's coworkers and they were a huge hit! I was inspired by The Cheesecake Factory's White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake... have you ever had it? If you have, you know how amazing it is, if not, you should definitely find a Cheesecake Factory near you and grab a slice! Since we live far away from one and Stephen loves it so much, I thought it would be really easy to adapt to a blondie bar. I searched a couple of my local grocery stores for caramel bits (I think Kraft makes them) but had no such luck. Instead I cut up those pre-wrapped chewy caramels and tossed them in. Once they got hot they melted and disappeared into the bars, it was like a little magic show in my oven. When I took them out they smelled incredible! I think next time I make a batch of these I'm going to toss in some coconut to add one more layer of flavor. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Bars
1½ c. all-purpose flour
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ c. light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt + a extra pinch to sprinkle on top
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ c. macadamia nuts, chopped
¼ c. caramel pieces (about 12-14 caramels, chopped)
¼ c. white chocolate chunks or chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving at least a 2" overhang (this makes pulling them out cleaner and easier).
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and ½ tsp. salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together melted butter and brown sugar for 30 seconds. Turn speed to low and add one egg at a time. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Fold in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Gently fold in chocolate chunks, nuts and caramel pieces. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining salt over top.
5. Place in oven and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the top is shiny and cracked and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely (30 minutes). Remove bars from pan using the overhanging edges of parchment or foil. Cut into bars.
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen- Blondies | Makes approximately 12 large bars or 24 small bars


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