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Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars: #CreativeCookieExchange

Very closely adapted from Carole Bloom. Be sure to have everything ready beside your cooktop when you make the caramel, as sugar can burn quickly. You will want to make the caramel while the shortbread is baking.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cookies
Author TheSpicedLife


  • For the shortbread:
  • 9 T (4.5 oz 1 stick plus 1 T) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour 6.75 oz
  • 1/4 t fine sea salt
  • For the chocolate caramel topping:
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped (I used about 3 oz 62% cacao and 7 oz of 72% cacao)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 T (3 oz 3/4 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 t fine sea salt
  • 1-2 t flaky sea salt for sprinkling to taste


  1. First make the shortbread base: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8X8 baking pan (with a minimum of 2 inches high sides) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy on medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. Whisk together the salt and flour. Then slowly mix the flour into the butter mixture--the result will be crumbly, which is ok. Once the moisture in the dough is evenly distributed, dump the dough into the prepared pan. Using damp fingertips, press the dough evenly into the pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is evenly golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  6. Make the caramel while the shortbread is baking: Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof medium-large bowl and set aside.
  7. Gently stir the sugar and water in a 3 quart heavy bottomed sauce pan (mix BEFORE placing on heat). Then place the pan over medium high heat. Place a small bowl of water with a heat-proof pastry brush beside your cooktop.
  8. When the sugar begins to boil, brush the pan along the edges of sugar/water mixture to dissolve crystals. Turn the heat up to high and repeat the brushing to prevent crystals.
  9. Let the sugar boil, without stirring, until it turns amber colored (about 6-8 minutes, 340-345 F).
  10. When it turns amber colored, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, cream and salt--be careful as the mixture may bubble up. Immediately begin stirring with a long-handled heat-proof spatula; stir constantly for about 2 minutes, until the caramel is smooth.
  11. When the caramel is smooth, pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, and then stir the mixture smooth. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all over it combined.
  12. Let the chocolate caramel mixture cool for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  13. Pour the chocolate caramel mixture over the baked shortbread.
  14. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  15. Then cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
  16. When the caramel is firm, remove the entire "bar" from the pan by the edges of the parchment. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
  17. Use a large chef's knife to slice into bars--use an up/down motion, not a sawing motion, to slice the bars. Store in the fridge.