A thick and chewy caramel cashew bar with a cookie-like shortbread crust!

A thick and chewy caramel cashew bar with a cookie-like shortbread crust!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is being in the kitchen.

Scratch that, I’d say that next to eating the food, being in the kitchen is my favorite part of the holidays.

Standing over the stove, dipping your finger into a sauce to taste its tartness. Inviting your S.O. to come next to you for a more formal taste test. Or pulling a pie out of the oven, getting down to eye level to see how cooked it is, then asking your mom to hand you a knife to double check for doneness on the inside. It fosters a warmth and connectedness that occurs less and less in our day to day lives, and I love it. 

A thick and chewy caramel cashew bar with a cookie-like shortbread crust!

And of course for the holidays, I am always in the kitchen making at least 4 desserts.

Aside from traditional holiday cookies, during the holidays I can always be found making bars. There’s something so accessible about bars, and something so tempting, too.

And since I’m the biggest fan of making twists on classic desserts, this year I’m making Salted Caramel Cashew Bars, the more interesting older brother of the Pecan Pie Bar.

A thick and chewy caramel cashew bar with a cookie-like shortbread crust!

These bars are made with a thick, underbaked sugar cookie-like that you just can’t get enough of. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, they’re topped with chewy golden salted caramel laced with cashews.

I plan on having to swat a lot of hands away from these babies before they make it to the dessert table.

A thick and chewy caramel cashew bar with a cookie-like shortbread crust!

Plus, can we talk about how easy these bars are to make? It’s just a cream cheese shortbread dough, plus cashews drizzled in a quick and easy homemade caramel, then popped in the oven for 30 minutes.

It’s almost too easy, and I’m worried that instead of a holiday tradition, these are going to turn into a weekly occurrence in our house.

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Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

  • Author: Sarah Fennel
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 15 bars 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the cream cheese shortbread

  • 5 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

For the caramel cashew filling

  • For the salted caramel
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp, cut into tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temp
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt (I used a finely-crushed pink Himalayan sea salt and it was fantastic!)
  • 16 ounces Planters Lightly Salted Cashews Halves and Pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8″x8″ baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to low speed and incorporate flour.
  3. Press dough firmly onto the bottom of the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While the shortbread is baking, make the caramel. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to occasionally stir the sugar, getting to the bottom of the pan. At first the sugar will be lumpy, but will soon melt and start turning a brownish color. Don’t stir too often, just enough to keep everything evenly cooking.
  5. After 5 minutes, the sugar should become fully melted. Once it becomes a medium golden hue, remove from heat immediately and stir in butter. The mixture will violently bubble. You’re doing it right.
  6. Use your spatula to stir the butter and sugar until they melt together completely. This can take 1-2 minutes.
  7. Next, pour in the heavy cream and sea salt. Stir until combined.
  8. Once the shortbread has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle the cashews evenly over the surface, then pour on salted caramel. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before garnishing with more sea salt and cutting into bars (cut 5 rows by 3 rows).

Find more news from Mr. Peanut at Planters.com, Facebook, and on Twitter.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and provided product samples by Kraft Foods, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

28 comments

Avatar
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Reply

Eeekkk…these look awesome. I love cashews all the time, but something about them screams Holidays to me. I made cashew cookies this weekend. And now these bars are going on my list! They look awesome, Sarah!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Oh my god cashew cookies? Those must’ve been amazing!

Avatar
Tessa | Salted Plains
Reply

Ohh, I am liking this twist! Brilliant! You cannot go wrong with cashews and caramel. Wishing I had these right now!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Thank you so much! It’s my new favorite bar 🙂

Avatar
Katrina
Reply

These are pure tiny beauties!! I love, love, love cashews in bars!!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

You can bet I do too now. Thanks Katrina!

Avatar
Jessica @ Sweetest Menu
Reply

These are gorgeous and look better than anything storebought I have seen! Well done! Pinned.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

That’s SO nice of you. Thank you Jessica!

Avatar
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
Reply

Easy and cashews? I’m totally in!! 🙂 So pretty.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Like too easy. 😉

Avatar
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
Reply

These bars are so tall and packed with delicious caramel flavor! So yum 🙂

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Thick and chewy and salty and sweet. Love love love!

Avatar
Karen @ The Food Charlatan
Reply

Pecan bars older brother! lol! Get me a piece of that.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

You bet! What a great way to put it, haha!

Avatar
Linda | The Baker Who Kerns
Reply

That chewy salted caramel cashew top looks absolutely scrumptious! Oh how I would love to bite into one of these bars right now! I’m definitely not surprised you had to swat away many hands to keep people away from these babies. I sympathize with them!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Thank you Linda! And I know how you feel. I’m craving them right about now!!

Avatar
Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
Reply

I’m a sucker for pecans bars, but in snacking prefer cashews. Pretty sure I’d go crazy for these!!!!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Thanks Nicole!!

Avatar
Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen
Reply

YUM YUM YUMMMMM (MILLY VOICE).

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

MILLY VOICE

Avatar
Gaby Dalkin
Reply

Oh boy, I don’t know if I can make these…they might not even make it to a holiday party before I can eat them all!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

HI GIRLFRIEND. So glad you enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Avatar
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet
Reply

Wow Sarah! These bars are THE BOMB DOT COM! Pinning and making tonight!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

YOU’RE MAKING THEM?! INSTAGRAM IT PLZZZZ I WANT TO SEE!!

Avatar
Christine
Reply

I am interested in making the salted caramel cashew bars…however, I am wondering how you store them…whether in the fridge or on the counter in a container. Also, if I am making them to take somewhere, would you just make them the night or day of?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Christine! Great questions. I store mine in the fridge, but like to take them out about an hour before serving. In terms of making them ahead of time, they last up to a week, so making them a day before is absolutely fine. Just be sure to seal them tightly with saran wrap or in a plastic container 🙂

Hope this helps and happy baking!

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