Salted Pumpkin Caramel White Chocolate Bars

For the caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cookie dough:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 T. plain yogurt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325° F with a rack in the lower third. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

To make the caramel: Combine the granulated sugar, half & half, and pumpkin puree in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly with a whisk. The mixture will begin to bubble. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and easily coats the back of a metal spoon. While still whisking, add the salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. The mixture may froth, but continue whisking and remove from the heat. Cool the caramel while you make the cookie dough.

To make the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a second bowl, combine the butter, oil, and both sugars, mixing until combined. Add the egg, cream cheese, and yogurt and mix to completely incorporate. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and gently mix the dry into the wet just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the white chocolate chips.

Transfer half of the cookie dough to the prepared pan, pressing it into an even layer in the bottom. Pour about 1/3 cup of the caramel over the cookie dough. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the salted caramel. Press down gently with your fingertips to distribute. It's fine if the caramel layer isn't completely covered - it will spread to cover as it bakes. Generously sprinkle the top with fleur de sel. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

  • Yields: 16 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour


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