This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hershey’s®. All opinions are 100% mine.
In the early 1900’s, Chicago was known as the Candy Capital of the World. With so much rich – and decadent – confectionery history, I’m always eager to learn the stories behind some of the most popular candy brands.
I was amazed to learn that the Lancaster Caramel Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was founded by Milton Hershey in 1886. It was his FIRST successful candy company and established him as a successful businessman.
He would later launch the Hershey Chocolate Company – the one most of us know today – as a subsdiary of the Lancaster Caramel Company. When he sold the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1900, he kept the Hershey Chocolate Company because he thought there was a large market for chocolate confections. Ol’ Milton was indeed a candy genius!
Now Hershey’s® has launched a new line of soft caramels, Hershey’s® LANCASTER Soft Crèmes, inspired by Milton’s original recipe. They come in three flavors: Caramel, Vanilla and Caramel, and Vanilla and Raspberry.
I sampled both the Vanilla and Raspberry and Caramel flavors. The Vanilla and Raspberry cremes are great right from the package, but I decided to try the Caramel cremes featured in a recipe for Caramel Blondie Bars. I made a few minor modifications, but the recipe is very straightforward and makes it easy to whip up a fun treat for the family.
Caramel Blondie Bars
20 LANCASTER Caramel Soft Cremes, cut and quartered
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
6 tablespoons butter, room tempterature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray to ensure easy removal. Set aside.
Remove the wrappers from caramel candies. Cut each caramel into quarters. Toss the caramel pieces with 1 tablespoon flour to keep the pieces from sticking together.
Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the web mixture. Beat until well blended. Fold in the caramel pieces.
Spread the batter into your prepared baking pan. Using a spatula, ensure the batter is evenly spread in the pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 16 bars.
Overall, I really liked this recipe. Folding the caramels throughout the batter gave every bite a delicious burst of caramel. My only suggestion for improvement would be to add a cup of Hershey’s® Milk Chocolate Chips to balance the decadent caramel flavor. YUM!
My friends over at The Underground in Chicago’s River North neighborhood have kindly shared the recipe for one of their special margaritas: the Salted Caramel Margarita. The Underground was named “Hottest Club” by Entertainment Weekly and “Best in the U.S.” by Nightclub and Bar Magazine, in part because it attracts red-hot performers like Katy Perry, John Mayer, and Kanye West.
Salted Caramel Margarita
• 1.5 oz avion reposado
• 1 oz mariposa
• 1 oz lime
• 2 caps vanilla
• 1.5 oz salted caramel
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Serve in a Pilsner glass and garnish with caramel salt.
Click here for more unique margarita recipes from The Underground’s sister restaurant ¡AY CHIWOWA!.