Two years ago, there were Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels. They are delicious and just as good as those artisanal chocolates that go for a dollar a pop. The problem (at least, for this year’s #12DaysOfChristmas) is that they aren’t easy. You’ve got to make a caramel in two steps (caramelization of the sugar and then the actual cooking of the caramel), cook it to the soft ball stage, pour it into a pan, cool it, then cut it into squares and dip each square into melted chocolate, then sprinkle each caramel with sea salt. They’re well worth the effort, but I can’t call them easy. So I made this batch of Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread bar cookies that will satisfy that ooey-gooey salted caramel craving with about a fourth of the effort. Shortbread crust, check. Caramel layer, check. Ganache topping, check. The gang’s all here!
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread bars are an easy (well, easier) way to cram all the flavors of salted caramel chocolates into a bar cookie. This is by far the best caramel filling I’ve made, and I may even substitute it for the caramel in my dark chocolate salted caramel tart.
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread
With all the flavors of those expensive dark chocolate caramels but a third of the effort, these dark chocolate salted caramel shortbread bars are a perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray.
- 2/3 cup cold butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 12 oz dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
Cut the 2/3 cup of butter in small cubes. In a medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup butter, sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into a 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk for about 3 minutes. Pour caramel over warm crust. Chill until caramel is firm.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, then stir and continue to heat and stir at 20-second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Chill in the refrigerator. Cut into small triangles. Sprinkle each square with sea salt (optional--I use Maldon sea salt).