Salted Caramel Butter Bars:
For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the salted caramel filling:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the topping:
Sea salt flakes (for sprinkling)
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the flour and salt to the butter mixture, mixing until crumbly. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
While the crust is baking, prepare the salted caramel filling. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Remove from heat.
Once the crust is done baking, pour the salted caramel filling over the hot crust, spreading it evenly.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the caramel is bubbling and slightly darkened.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the top with sea salt flakes while the bars are still hot.
Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for about 1-2 hours to allow the caramel to set.
Once the bars are chilled, cut them into squares or bars and serve