Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread "Twix" Bars

I found this recipe on Pinterest the other day and I have been waiting to create them! I also looked at this website because it was similar and had some more instructions. It is also called Millionaires Shortbread.

The layers of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate just sounded amazing. What really intrigued me? The sprinkle of salt on top of the chocolate.

I looked over many shortbread recipes and finally decided to go with the original recipe. I used brown sugar instead of plain white sugar and added in 2 tsp of vanilla extract. I blended the sugar and butter, in my stand mixer, until it was creamed, this took about a minute. In a separate bowl I combined the flour, baking powder, and the salt. I mixed it all in with a fork. Then I combined it together until it formed a crumbly mixture.

I put the mixture into the pan lined with parchment paper and put it in the preheated 325F oven for about 15 minutes. (When it was done I put it in the fridge to cool quickly, next time I might make the shortbread the day before so it has time to crisp up more).
Crumbly mixture

While the shortbread was in the oven I started on the caramel. After reading the reviews I decided to half the caramel amount, I'm glad I did and was happy with the end result. In my medium saucepan I put the butter, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and light corn syrup. I heated it over medium stirring occasionally until the butter was melted and sugar dissolved. Then I turned it on high and stirred constantly until the mixture came to a boil. I mean constant stirring. Don't stop stirring! Once it reached a boil turn it down to about a med low heat so it simmers (little bubbles). Keep stirring! It took about 10 minutes for it to turn a light amber color. Then I took it off the heat. I let it cool for a few minutes but not long enough for it to get hard and too sticky. (Next time I will add a tsp of vanilla).

I poured the caramel over the cooled shortbread and spread it out. I let it sit for a few minutes and then I spread the semi sweet chocolate chips over the top and continued to spread them out as they melted. Let it sit for a few minutes. (Next time I'll use good chocolate instead of store brand chocolate chips). Then sprinkled with the coarse salt.

I let it chill in the fridge overnight before cutting. When I took it out the next morning to cut I took the entire thing out of the pan and put it on a cutting board to chop up. I made about 1x1 squares or smaller because these are very rich. They are also great being bite sized.

Overall? This was a great recipe. Very easy and not too time consuming. It also makes a lot! It would be easy enough to double the recipe if you had large parties to go to as well. They look fancy and aren't as complicated as they look. 

I might try a different shortbread recipe next time, Paula Dean has a good one for Pecan Shortbread. So I might try that one as a base.

But, just have patience with the caramel and don't stop stirring!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Makes approx 100-120 pieces depending on desired size

For the shortbread layer:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

For the caramel layer:
½  cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½  cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk

For the chocolate layer:
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside.  In separate bowl beat the butter, vanilla, and sugar until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in dry ingredients just until incorporated (crumbly).  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.  (If the crust puffs up a bit while baking, just gently press it down while it is cooling.) Let cool completely.

Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly.  Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set. 

Layer caramel over shortbread, sprinkle chocolate over the warm caramel and spread it out as it melts. Sprinkle salt over the chocolate.

Chill 2 hours until ready to cut and serve.


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