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Friday, November 15, 2013

Coconut Cashew Dulce de Leche Bars

coconut cashew bars
Coconut Cashew Dulce de Leche Bars
Funnily enough, I made these caramel cashew bars with some Stonewall Kitchen Maple Dulce de Leche before I went and visited Stonewall Kitchenin Maine. I actually won a giveaway on Delicious Dishings and was the lucky recipient of some Stonewall Kitchen products. I immediately began brainstorming how to use the dulce de leche and I was reminded of one of my flavors at Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee: caramel cashew. 
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coconut caramel bars
Transforming the custard flavor into a bar cookie wasn’t all that difficult. I made a buttery oatmeal crust and reserved half of it for the topping. Between the two layers I stuffed the maple dulce de leche, chopped, salted cashews, and some toasted coconut for good measure. The finished result exceeded my expectations and made me think Kopp’s should start adding coconut to their caramel cashew custard! 
dulce de leche
Friends went crazy for these bars. The maple in the dulce de leche adds an interesting element, but any dulce de leche (or even caramel ice cream topping) would work equally well. Because they’re so rich, you can cut them in small pieces and serve a crowd. The filling makes them pretty sticky, so you’re best off storing them in the fridge and serving them slightly chilled.

One Year Ago: Roasted Carrot, Leek, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup
Two Years Ago: Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches and 50 Thanksgiving Recipes
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins with Peaches and Pecans and Shrimp Fajitas
Four Years Ago: Candy Sushi 
Coconut Cashew Dulce de Leche Bars
a Sweets Life creation

for the crust and topping-
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-3 cups old-fashioned oats

for the filling
-1 cup toasted coconut
-1 cup chopped, salted cashews
-12 oz dulce de leche

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, beat butter until soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and then, with the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the oats, mixing to combine.
4. Set aside 2 cups of the crust mixture and press the rest into the prepared pan, covering the entire bottom of the pan. Spread the dulce de leche over the crust before sprinkling with the coconut and cashews. Top with the remaining crust mixture, dropping pieces of it and covering as best as possible (don't worry about covering the whole thing).
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting into pieces. Store in fridge to keep dulce de leche firm.