Shortbread that’s crumbly and caramel that oozes … chocolate and crunch and when I eat it makes me snoozes …
OK, nice try.
But these are a few of my favorite things.
I am a big-time caramel lover. Toffee. Butterscotch. Basically any form of caramelized sugar will do. (I almost forgot this peanut butter pie where the filling is peanut butter caramel. OOOOOOH so good.)
I am a big fan of buttery shortbread, too, so when I first saw these bars in the Baked cookbook, they really spoke to me. I have made them exactly as written in Baked once. But after I realized I was basically making dulce de leche for the filling … well, this time I fully intended to buy dulce de leche in a jar.
But then we were away for some of fall break, and yesterday I was at home with three kids and realized I would have to take all of them to the grocery store if I wanted that to happen. My kids are 6, 4, and 2, and I won’t say taking them all somewhere is a nightmare … but anywhere three kids can ask me to buy stuff for them constantly while I try to focus on shopping tends to be a disaster.
But I did have a really old bag of Kraft Caramel Bits in the cupboard. So voila – totally cheater caramel filling! Use whatever caramel or dulce de leche you love for the filling; I won’t tell anyone. It all tastes good.
This post is my third in a series for #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provided me with a case of sugar to bake with, but I have received no other compensation for this series.
one 10 oz. bag Kraft caramel bits, or dulce de leche or other caramel sauce
2 T water or cream
6 oz. dark chocolate - I used a 3.5 oz bar very dark (85%) Lindt Excellence chocolate and 2.5 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tsp. honey
1/2 c. butter, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9x13 pan (you can use your butter wrappers).
Cream together sugar and softened butter. Add 2 cups flour and beat until well incorporated. Add egg yolk and beat until just combined. With a wooden spoon, add additional 1/2 cup flour and mix well. Press into the baking dish and then prick all over with a fork.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until brown around the edges. Let cool completely in pan.
Place caramels and water or cream in a large measuring cup. Melt in the microwave for 2 minutes, then stir rapidly until uniform. Pour over cooled shortbread, spreading with a spatula. Refrigerate until cooled and hardened. (With these caramels, it doesn't take long - about half an hour. Homemade dulce de leche or caramel sauce may take 2 hours to set up and cool.)
Add chocolate, honey, and butter to a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, and microwave on high 1 minute. Stir, and cook an additional 30 seconds. Whisk together with a fork until completely melted and smooth. Pour over caramel layer and spread with a thin spatula.
Refrigerate dish at least 1 hour, until the chocolate sets.
VERY important: Remove the dish from the fridge half an hour before you want to cut the bars. This will make sure the chocolate doesn't crack and the shortbread is soft enough to come out of the pan.
Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut into small squares. Serve. Store extras in fridge for up to 4 days, covered.