Amy's Bread. After our slightly disappointing dinners, I was looking for one thing to really love. One outstanding food needed to stand out for this trip, and I found it at this bakery. Salted Butterscotch Cashew Bars rocked. Totally. Completely. We bought one and split it as we walked the few blocks to another stop. Immediately, I wanted more...even though I was rapidly reaching my full button. We dissected the flavors and debated the ingredients. When we got back to the hotel, I did an online search for the recipe. I was in love.
These sweet, salty, chewy, nutty bars of perfection would be an excellent treat for your Valentine (since that day is rapidly approaching). Or, if Cupid hasn't hit you, just make a pan for yourself. Don't eat them all in one sitting, though. Salted Butterscotch Cashew Bars are rich. Deliciously rich. Deliciously divine. I heart Salted Butterscotch Cashew Bars.
(from Amy Sherber, The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread
and the James Beard Foundation)
2 2/3 cups 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 (this is the rough measurement of a package of 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
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 12 x 17-inch sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Grease lightly with softened butter.
To make the crust, cut the butter into the flour, alternating with the brown sugar, using a pastry blender to form a coarse meal. (Alternatively, use a food processor fitted with a metal blade.)
The dough will be a little crumbly but will almost form a ball.
Spread the crust evenly in the bottom of greased pan, patting in gently.
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.(Cooling is important, as the hot topping will destroy a warm crust.) Do not turn off the oven.
To make the topping, melt 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.
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. (Yield: 25 bars)