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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars (aka Homemade Twix)

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What's a girl to do when a recipe calls for four sticks of butter? No, that isn't a typo. Four sticks of butter. As in, a whole pound. (but read on, worth it. I promise!) Normally I don't worry too much about the amount of butter and sugar in baked goods. I often mention my belief that there is no 'off limit' food and because I eat pretty healthily most of the time, I am all about the (daily) indulgence. However, I had no doubt that I was going to love these and I was a little worried that after eating the whole pan (which I am totally capable of doing), my skinny jeans would be too tight for comfort.
The solution? Get others to help me eat them! I'll be honest, when I cut a corner of the finished product off to take a bite, I spent 10 seconds contemplating NOT sharing them because they were 10x better than I had anticipated! My heart said keep 'em for yourself, but my head (and jeans!) won out...I shared!

As expected, everyone loved them as much as I did. Just like in these brownies or this pie, the salty/sweet combination cannot be beat! These taste like a gourmet (read: better) version of Twix bars. The caramel is a little firmer in this version (especially if you eat them cold), which makes them easier to eat. I will be making (and sharing!) these again!!

One Year Ago: Creamy Five-Cup Fruit Salad
Two Years Ago: 30-Minute Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars (aka Homemade Twix)
as seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures

for the shortbread-
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar

for the caramel-
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 tbsp light corn syrup
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

for the chocolate-
-8 oz chocolate, finely chopped (I used bittersweet chocolate chips)
-1 tsp light corn syrup
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
-fleur de sel for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 325F . Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. To make the shortbread layer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined (2 minutes). With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
2. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes (mine took longer than this), or until crust is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
3. To make the caramel layer, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly, until teh mixture thickens and turns a light caramel color (may take over 10 minutes).
4. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and shread evenly. Allow to cool completely and place in the fridge to allow the caramel to set before topping with chocolate.
5. To make the chocolate layer, heat the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (double boiler). Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and pour over the chilled caramel, spreading into an even layer with a spatula. Allow to cool for a few minutes before sprinkling with fleur de sel. Cover and refrigerate until set completely before slicing and serving. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.