Makes 32 bars

Note: You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. Salty pretzels and sticky-sweet caramel top off these shortbread bars, which will keep up to a week when stored in an airtight container. From Saveur magazine.

For the shortbread:

• 1 1/4 c. flour

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

• 1/3 c. brown sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract


For the caramel topping:

• 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

• 1 1/4 c. brown sugar

• 1/4 c. honey

• 1/4 c. maple syrup

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 6 c. (about 9 oz.) small pretzel twists, lightly broken up


To make the shortbread: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, folding paper up and over the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla, change speed to low, and add the flour-salt mixture. Mix until crumbly, 10 to 15 seconds. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan, and prick dough all over with a fork. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

To make the caramel: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir regularly until mixture is foamy and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer inserted into the caramel registers 240 degrees (soft ball stage), about 11 minutes. Add the crushed pretzels and quickly incorporate into the caramel.

Pour the pretzel-caramel mixture over the baked shortbread, spreading the mixture evenly. Return to the oven until the topping is bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove from the baking pan by lifting the edges of the parchment paper; unfold the paper and slice into bars.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 178 Fat 10 g Sodium 177 mg Saturated fat 6 g

Carbohydrates 21 g Protein 2 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 0 g


Makes 12 brownies.

Note: How do you up the decadence level of fudge brownies? Add a layer of silky-smooth caramel sauce and a dusting of flaky salt. From “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.”

• 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter

• 8 oz. plus 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, divided

• 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate

• 3 extra-large eggs

• 1 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee granules

• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

• 1 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar

• 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour, divided

• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 5 to 6 oz. good caramel sauce

• 2 to 3 tsp. flaked sea salt, such as Maldon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder and the salt, and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. (Note: It is very important to allow the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies). Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 476 Fat 30 g Sodium 519 mg Saturated fat 18 g

Carbohydrates 54 g Protein 5 g Cholesterol 95 mg Dietary fiber 3 g



Makes 12.

Note: Golden caramel deepens the flavor and color of traditional crispy treats. From

• Nonstick cooking spray

• 6 c. crispy rice cereal (about half a 12-oz. box)

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

• 1/2 c. dark brown sugar

• 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

• 1 tbsp. light corn syrup

• 1 tsp. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, plus more for sprinkling

• 1 (10-oz.) bag mini marshmallows


Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with nonstick spray.

Put the cereal in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar, cream and corn syrup. Cook until thick and syrupy while stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Stir in the salt. Turn off the heat and stir in the marshmallows. Keep stirring until the marshmallows are smooth and melted.

Quickly pour the caramel marshmallow sauce over the cereal and stir all together. Pour into the prepared pan and press down with a piece of parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt. Cool completely, then cut into squares.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 249 Fat 10 g Sodium 318 mg Saturated fat 6 g

Carbohydrates 41 g Protein 1 g Cholesterol 27 mg Dietary fiber 0 g



Makes about 40 candies.

Note: You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. A sprinkling of French sea salt (fleur de sel) balances the sweetness of homemade caramels. From Epicurious.

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

• 1 tsp. fleur de sel

• 1 1/2 c. sugar

• 1/4 c. light corn syrup

• 1/4 c. water


Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.

Bring cream, butter and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Boil sugar, corn syrup and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel. Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248 degrees on a deep-fat/candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours.

Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 74 Fat 4 g Sodium 58 mg Saturated fat 2 g

Carbohydrates 9 g Protein 0 g Cholesterol 12 mg Dietary fiber 0 g