Chewy, crunchy, and crumbly, this is satisfying anytime, and because the crust is shortbread, it also travels and keeps well. Don't let the two-step process deter you; the caramel comes together while the crust bakes, and you can make the crust up to a month ahead of time if you wrap it tightly and freeze it.

Pecan-Caramel Bars

Yield: About 1 dozen Time: About 45 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cream
1/2 pound (about 1 cup) pecans, roughly chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and grease it.
  2. Cream 1 stick of the butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour. This mixture will be quite dry; press it into the greased pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, leaving the oven on.
  3. Cook the brown sugar, honey, and remaining stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Boil for a few minutes more, watching carefully, until it thickens slightly and turns rich amber in color. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. (The cream may bubble up at first.) Fold in the pecans and immediately pour over the crust.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the caramel is bubbling. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting. These will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.