Every now and then I come across a recipe that looks like it might actually be worth all of the time the lengthy instructions seem to indicate it will take. These bars are an example of such a recipe. There's a shortbread crust, topped with homemade caramel, then finished off with a chocolate glaze on top. You know that any dessert that takes five sticks of butter is going to be delicious! This dessert is time-consuming, but mostly because each layer needs to sufficiently chill before the next layer. Make them when you're going to have a crowd and they will be a big hit!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars
for the shortbread:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
for the caramel:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
for the chocolate:
8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling
To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13-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 the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. 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.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the caramel layer, 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. (I chilled at this stage to ensure the caramel layer would not melt when the warm chocolate was added.)
To make the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour evenly over the caramel layer and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill, covered, until ready to slice and serve. Store bars in the refrigerator. Makes about 5 dozen small bars.
source: recipe from annie's eats