Butterscotch Cashew Bars
Amy's Bread - NYC
"Butterscotch cashew bars were a favorite after-school treat when Amy Scherber was growing up, but today her adult customers seem to enjoy them even more than kids do. They’re a mix of sweet, salty, nutty, and chewy, and something about them makes us want to go back for more. These bars make a great snack and are fun to share with others at a cookie exchange. They can be made several days in advance, and they freeze well, too."
- 2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cold
- 1 1/8 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups cashew pieces, roasted and salted
Position one rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 12 x 17-inch sheet pan lightly with softened butter and line it with aluminum foil, pressing the foil up the sides of the pan and into the corners. Grease the foil with softened butter.
To make the crust, In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour and salt. Dice the butter into 1-inch pieces and place half in the food processor with the flour. Pulse for a few seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and pulse again, and then add the remaining butter and brown sugar and process for 20 to 30 seconds until a coarse meal is formed and the dough is just beginning to gather into a ball. If you don’t have a food processor, follow the same procedure but cut the butter into the flour, alternating with the brown sugar, using a pastry blender to form a coarse meal. The dough will be a little crumbly but will almost form a ball.
Spread the crust evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pat it gently and evenly into the pan all the way into the corners. Be careful not to pack it down too much or the crust will become tough. Bake it for 5 minutes then prick the dough lightly with a fork all over, and return the pan to the oven and bake for about 10 more minutes. The crust should be slightly browned and soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool for several minutes. Do not turn off the oven.
To make the topping, In a medium saucepan, add the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, butter, water, and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chips have melted completely and the topping has just begun to simmer, about 5 minutes.
Stir the cashew pieces into the hot topping and spread it evenly over the baked crust. Try to spread it out to the corners if possible, but the topping will spread into any bare spots during baking.
Bake again for 11 to 15 minutes, or until the surface is brown and very bubbly.
Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting them into 25 pieces, 5 across by 5 down.