Butterscotch Cashew Bars

Butterscotch Cashew Bars are sweet, gooey, crunchy, and delicious! From the shortbread crust to the gooey filling to the cashews on top, there’s so much to love here!

Butterscotch Cashew Bars on parchment paper

Cashews are woefully underused in baking. More often, you’ll find plenty of recipes featuring almonds or pecans or walnuts. But cashews deserve the spotlight, too. And combine them with a gooey butterscotch filling, and you’ve got a real winner!

These bars start with a simple shortbread crust made of butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour. Shortbread crusts are one of my favorite base layers for bars. They add wonderful flavor without overwhelming the stars of the show. In this case, that buttery crust is just the thing to go along with the bolder flavors on top.

sliced Butterscotch Cashew Bars on parchment paper

If I have any hesitation in making these bars, it’s that butterscotch chips can sometimes leave something to be desired. After many years of baking, I can attest that not all butterscotch chips are created equally. My preferred brand is Guittard, but just use any brand that tastes good to you.

I know some of you will want to use a substitute for the corn syrup in these bars. There are several options you can try. Honey works well, but keep in mind that you’ll get quite a bit of its flavor here. Agave nectar or golden syrup should work fairly well, too. Another alternative is to dissolve sugar in warm water. For this recipe, I’d try using 3/4 cup granulated sugar dissolved in about 3 tablespoons of warm water.

sliced Butterscotch Cashew Bars on a parchment paper-lined baking pan

The recipe for these bars comes from Sweet Melissa, a favorite New York bakery that is sadly no longer open. Luckily, many of their great recipes are collected in a cookbook that I’ve linked below the recipe. It’s filled with many great recipes that I’ve enjoyed baking for many years.

These Butterscotch Cashew Bars are deliciously different. The combination of simple flavors with bolder ones works so well here. If the thought of something gooey, crunchy, and rich whets your appetite, then give them a try!

Find more bar recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Cashew-Filled Treats

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Butterscotch Cashew Bars are a delicious blend of sweet shortbread, rich shortbread, and crunchy cashews.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars on parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 & 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 11 ounces (312g) butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 cups (280g) roasted salted whole cashews

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9″x 13″x 2" pan with cooking spray. Using two sheets of parchment paper, line the pan’s width and length, creating a parchment “sling.” Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and salt for 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes. Decrease mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix just until combined. Lightly press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is a golden color. Remove to wire rack to cool.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir together the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and water. Stir until the mixture comes to a simmer and the butterscotch chips are melted. Pour over the crust.
  4. Sprinkle the cashews over the butterscotch caramel. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. After cooling, remove from pan and use a very sharp knife to cut into bars.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

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