Butterscotch Cashew Bars

Butterscotch Cashew Bars on parchment paper

I was recently lucky enough to be offered an advance copy of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. The book’s author is Melissa Murphy, the chef and owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie in Brooklyn, New York.

This book is packed with over 100 recipes, and I would love to try just about all of them. There is a Sweet Almond Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce that I’m saving for a special occasion. I’m also eyeing her Brooklyn Brownout Cake and Lemon Coconut Macaroons. After bookmarking several, I decided on these bars. They feature a shortbread crust, topped with butterscotch caramel and cashews. Melissa laments that cashews aren’t used nearly enough in baking, and I have to agree. Along with pecans and hazelnuts, cashews are one of my favorite nuts.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars on a parchment-lined sheet pan

I was certainly not disappointed by my first recipe attempt from Sweet Melissa. The shortbread crust is so simply delicious. A simple combination of butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour lends itself to a crust so good I could have stopped right there and been happy. I am not usually much of a butterscotch or caramel fan. I used the best butterscotch chips I could find, and I really think that made a big difference. I thought the finished bar had more of a mild caramel flavor than butterscotch. I really liked the saltiness that carries through from one layer to the next. These bars are certainly unlike anything I have ever made.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars on parchment paper

While we are frequent New York visitors, I’ve never been to Sweet Melissa Patisserie. I intend to remedy that on one of our next trips. I can’t wait to sample some of her delicious baked goods in person.

Update: Sweet Melissa closed her bakery in 2013.

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


  • 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


  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.


Recipe slightly adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

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