Did I Mention the Caramel Nut Bar?

I have a bad habit of letting food talk to me. It never fails to get me in trouble.

Case in point, on my last cupcake recon at the Vanilla Bake Shop, I was focused on selecting cupcakes when out of the corner of my eye, I spied a caramel dessert bar. It was nearly closing time and the bar looked lonely underneath the glass dome.

I tried to ignore it and continue with my appraisal of the bakery’s cupcakes. However, it whispered, “Hey, over here.”

I gave the bar another look, and then turned away. After all, I’m a frosting fanatic. I was here for frosted delicacies, right?

“Hey, Nicole,” the bar said.

How did it know my name? It was relentless.

Finally, I asked the Vanilla Bake Shop associate, what was that creation under the dome? She advised it was their Caramel Nut Bar.

I probed further. If the choice were between that bar and their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake, which would she recommend?

Photo courtesy of Vanilla Bake Shop - Assorted MinisShe pointed to the bar without hesitation, all the while, amused at my reaction to the dessert. That sealed it. I added the Caramel Nut Bar to my order and headed home.

Before I indulged, I did a little online research. I wanted to become more familiar with the dessert I was about to enjoy for the first time.

Once I was ready to begin, I warmed the Caramel Nut Bar slightly. Intuition told me it would taste better that way.

The initial piece revealed the nuts were walnuts. The crust was soft and had a mild butter taste. The rich caramel oozed gently from its center. Oh, how I wished for some Häagen-Dazs® Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to complement the experience. However, I know better than to keep that on hand.

The portion size of the Caramel Nut Bar was generous. Since the crust was more pie-like than I expected, it was filling. I washed the bar down with a glass of milk and groaned in contented misery.

I give the Vanilla Bake Shop’s Caramel Nut Bar 3.5 out of 5 stars. As someone who bakes occasionally, there are a couple of modifications that would have increased my rating.

First, I think a shortbread crust would take the caramel and nuts to another level. Second, walnuts are not my nuts of choice. I prefer pecans. Additionally, I found recipes that combine nuts. For example, Martha Stewart’s recipe uses cashews, peanuts and pecans… Yum.

These are simply suggestions from a Frosting Fanatic. Perhaps when I’m not enjoying the culinary creations of others, I will try to bake some Caramel Nut Bars. Until then, I know where to go if the craving strikes.

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