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salted caramel shortbread

May 23, 2012

it was my parents’ 30th anniversary tonight. i was inspired to make a dessert they would both love (actually, i just had my mom in mind). my mom loves shortbread and salted caramels, so this was the perfect duet. look at that gooey goodness my mom is reaching for!

my dad had 5 pieces and my mom loved it as well. everyone kept coming back for more and there was even talk of eating the rest for breakfast. definitely a recipe to put in the recipe book.


the good news? super simple to make! here’s the recipe. (the italics in the recipe is my own commentary).

For the shortbread layer:
10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 2/3 cups flour
For the caramel:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
(you could definitely taste the salt, so go easy on this if you don’t like your caramel really salty.)
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the sides to make removal easier.
– In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and salt with a pastry cutter or fork.  Add the egg yolk and continue mixing.
– Add the flour and use your hands to combine the dough until coarse crumbs form.  Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and press it down into one even layer.
– Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes, until slightly golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
– For the caramel, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, sugar, and heavy cream.  Bring to a boil and stir for about 5-10 minutes until caramel reaches the “soft ball stage” at around 230 degrees.
– Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour caramel over the shortbread (I sprinkled my sea salt at this point).
– Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (we couldn’t wait that long!), then sprinkle with sea salt and cut into squares.  Store caramels in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.
these are perfect for any occasion and are sure to be a crowd hit.

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