caramel-coconut pecan shortbread bars

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 ts salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
¼ cup of toasted pecans (optional)
20 ounces soft caramel candies (or make your own caramel sauce)
5 TB heavy cream
2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then add to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed just until the dough comes together.
Press evenly into a 8 x 8 non-stick baking dish.
Then sprinkle the chopped pecans over the dough (do not press into dough).
Bake until lightly golden, 30 – 40 minutes, depending on oven (mine took 35). The shortbread might be a still a little soft, that’s ok. Recipe by Dawn Finicane of It hardens when it cools down. You are looking for a very light golden brown. (this is not a cookie so you don’t want brown edges).
In a medium saucepan, melt the caramels with the cream and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over medium heat. Stir in the coconut, then spread over the shortbread. Let this cool before adding the chocolate. (I put it in the fridge to cool).
I put the melted chocolate into a plastic bag, closed it up then snipped off a small tip at corner and drizzled the chocolate on that way.
Let cool completely before slicing. This is really hard to slice when cooled, so use a sharp knife that is warmed up before slicing (run under hot water).

Note: If you don’t have a non-stick pan, then line your pan with foil (plus the edges) as you will need help removing this from the pan; caramel makes it stick. I found that removing this from the pan then slicing it on a cutting board was much easier than cutting it in the pan.
The next time I make this I might want to incorporate a layer of chunky peanut butter somewhere. You can also make your own caramel sauce for these, I just didn't have time to.