Thursday, December 10, 2015

Carmel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

When we were in London 3+ years ago, we were at a local grocery store and came across these Twix Caramel Slice bars.  They were A-MAZING.  I think we realized that after our first bite and then bought more to come home with us.  We called them "British Twix" and they are among my favorite candy I've ever had.  Matt might agree and he has faaaar more experience with candy than I do.  They had shortbread (which I've already admitted to loving), caramel, and chocolate.  There is nothing not to like about any of that.   We never found these in the US which is a shame because they are much better than the Twix bars we get here.

I made something similar for Luke's baptism but wasn't super impressed.  I've had this specific recipe pinned for years and finally took the plunge.  And it was pretty easy, all done in small steps over 2 days.  I haven't always had the best luck with making caramel but this one was easy and maybe hard to mess up.  And the chocolate.  I had leftover of the really good, real stuff from various cupcakes (and frosting) I made this summer and I think that was a huge factor.  You can't beat real chocolate.  Get that if you can.  Or at least something better than standard grocery store chocolate chips. 

Full disclosure.  These bars have 5 sticks of butter.  I usually don't tell people these things before they eat my desserts but I was so amazed at this one having so much that I did.  And even knowing that a few of my sisters decided they were still worth it.  I knew it and I ate these leftovers for many days.  Of course, with something so rich, small serving sizes are necessary so these can serve a decent crowd.  A little goes a long way.

Carmel Chocolate Shortbread Bars
yield: 9x13 pan - serves a lot!
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 TB corn syrup
2 (14oz) cans sweetened condensed milk

8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp corn syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
sea salt for sprinkling (which I completely forgot about)

1) For the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325°.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir and set aside.  Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.  Turn to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture, blend just until incorporated.  Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden.  (The crust may puff up a bit while baking, if so just press down when it's out of the oven.)  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

2) For the carmel layer, combine all the carmel ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continuing stirring and simmering until it reaches an amber color and thickens slightly (this may take some time).  Pour this over the shortbread layer and spread in an even layer.  You'll need this layer to be completely set before adding the chocolate.  Putting it in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) helps.

3) 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 and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour over the carmel layer and use a spatula to spread even.  Let set for 1-2 minutes and sprinkle with the sea salt.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Lisa is Cooking via Annie's Eats

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