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Monday, December 16, 2013


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     First of all, this recipe comes with a warning...this is a highly addictive substance that once consumed is just about impossible to stop until there is nothing left.  It is a bit on the sweet side, and you do reach your sugar saturation point quickly.  This sugar rush is all there is to buffer you from eating it all at one sitting (unless you happen to have extra strong will power). 
     Pecan Caramel Bars are a Southern recipe.  Pecans are abundant in the south so many recipes from that area contain these nuts.  The rich butter flavor of the caramel and shortbread are wonderful with the buttery nuttiness of the toasted pecans.  I’m sure you can replace the pecans with walnuts or chopped almonds in this recipe; let me know how it turns out if you try this, I, myself, will be sticking with the pecans.
     This is the first time I ever made caramel sauce from scratch.  It is quite surprising how easy it is.  The results are OMG good.  No more bottled sauce for me.  Now I am even confident enough to try homemade caramel candy.
     I was browsing around the Internet looking at various recipes for bar cookies.  I liked how these looked with the whole pecans so I used the recipe from the One Lovely Life blog.  Of course, as usual, I converted it to gluten free.  The shortbread ingredients were very similar to my Scottish Shortbread recipe, so I decided to use my recipe for the crust replacing the regular sugar with brown sugar.  I followed the caramel sauce as it was written.  No need to change that a bit.  I have an “everything is better with chocolate” attitude, so I put chocolate on half of the cookies.  These are delicious either way.  I have to say that I prefer the un-chocolate ones, since you can taste the buttery caramel better.

Makes 24 1X2-inch bars.


1/2 cup/1 stick Unsalted Butter - room temperature
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum


5 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbs. Cream or Half-and-half or Milk
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup Pecans - toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare an 8x8-inch square pan by lining it with parchment paper that covers the bottom and goes up two of the sides.  Leave some extra  paper on the sides so that you can grab the paper and lift the cookies out of the pan.
  2. In a small bowl mix the flours, salt and xanthan gum.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer beat the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. Knead the dough for about a minute.
  6. Place the dough in the pan and press it evenly on the bottom of the pan.  Prick holes across the bottom with a fork.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Keep the oven on.
    Shortbread crust all baked.
    Note the extra parchment paper on the sides
    so that you can grab it and lift the cookies out of the pan.
  8. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. 
  9. While the nuts toast and the shortbread cools for a little while, make the caramel sauce.
  10. In a medium saucepan add the butter, sugar, honey, cream and sea salt.
    Caramel sauce heating up on the stove.
  11. Over medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture comes to a boil.
    Caramel sauce boiling.
    It is frothy with large bubbles.
  12. Boil for 3 minutes.  The mixture will be frothy with large bubbles.  Remove from the heat.
  13. Add the vanilla and toasted pecans.  I left the nuts whole, you can rough chop them if you prefer.  Stir.
  14. Pour the caramel sauce over the shortbread.  Spread the nuts and caramel sauce out as evenly as you can.
    Caramel sauce with pecans
    spread out as evenly as possible over the shortbread crust.
  15. Return the pan to the oven and bake about 10-12 minutes until the edges are bubbly.  Remove from the oven.
    Shortbread covered with caramel sauce after baking.
  16. If you want to use chocolate, sprinkle 2/3 cup of chocolate chips over the top. 
    Half with chocolate chips.
    Wait a few minutes until the chocolate softens and then spread out evenly over the top with a knife. 
    After the chocolate softened from the heat
    it was spread out with a knife.
    I covered half with chocolate and use 1/3 cup of chips for this.
  17. Leave in the pan to cool.  After it cools for at least 20 minutes, cut into pieces of the desired size.
    Cooled pieces spread out on the parchment paper.

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