Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caramel Bars

For the Crust:
1 cup of Earth Balance
1 cup light unbleached or white beet sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (you can make vegan powdered sugar pulsing the raw cane sugar in your food processor or blender with a tablespoon of cornstarch)
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat pastry flour too)

For the Filling:
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup of soy milk

Start by making the crust, mix the Earth Balance and sugars using a handheld or upright mixer until creamy. Slowly add in the flour, the mixture will be crumbly but be able to form a ball if you gather it in your hands.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and lightly spray your 9×13 pan. Press about half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake this for 25 minutes, it will still be very pale….like shortbread.

Let this cool while you make your caramel filling. In a sauce pan add all ingredients for filling except the soy creamer. Heat on medium heat stirring constantly until boiling. Once it is boiling using either a candy thermometer (or glass of cold water nearby) boil until the temp is 245 degrees F. I don’t have a thermometer and the hole “hard/soft ball” thing always scared me….after it is boiling for about 3-5 minutes every now and then you can drop a bit of the caramel into the cold water. The caramel is done when the drop in the water stays together. If you pull it out of the water it will even look like caramel! Otherwise the caramel will kind of just sink to the bottom but look sugary and dissolve a bit.

Once the caramel is done remove it from the heat. As it cools it will become thicker and stiffer. Resist the urge to just eat the caramel and screw the bars. Remember the bottom crust is already baked, might as well go through with it. :)

While the caramel is still warm and stir able add the soy creamer and stir until its fully mixed it. Then pour/spread the caramel onto the cooked bottom crust. Then take the remaining dough and crumble it over the whole top.

Bake it on 325 degrees F for about 35 minutes. The caramel will become bubbly and leak out of the sides of the topping a little bit. Best served warm!