Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Ooo-whee, are these bars GOOD. Like, really, really, ridiculously good. They’re also pretty rich, so slicing them small is a must. Also a must? A hot cup of coffee. Not that I’ve ever eaten these for breakfast…

Anywho. They’re a bit time consuming to make as you have to make the cookie layer, then the caramel, and then the caramel has to set… You get the picture. The end result is soooo worth it though. Buttery shortbread dissolves into sweet vanilla caramel, all topped with a rich chocolate layer that’s sprinkled with sea salt. Are you drooling yet? These have earned the nickname “homemade Twix” amongst my friends and coworkers, which is fairly accurate. The cookie’s just not quite so crunchy. Not a bad thing! I highly recommend these as your next baking project.

Ingredients:
For the shortbread layer:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar

For the caramel layer:
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 layer:
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. To make the shortbread layer, start by whisking together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
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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 (as you can see, I let mine sit a little too long and I got some sticky pieces on the bottom).
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Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set. Pop it in the fridge to expedite this part if you please!
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I make the chocolate glaze the lazy microwave way, but you can obviously do it the proper double-boiler way if you choose. Here’s how I do it: combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a microwaveable bowl.
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Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until butter is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
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Pour evenly over the caramel layer and use a spatula to smooth the top. You get no points for prettiness; it’ll taste just as good either way. 😉
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Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill, covered, until ready to slice and serve.
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Recipe adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.

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