Monday, November 21, 2011

Salted Caramel Shortbread

I've recently become obsessed with Starbucks' Salted Caramel Mocha and as soon as I saw this recipe my mouth started watering! There’s just something about that unique flavor that keeps you wanting just one more bite. If you haven’t tried it yet because you think salt on a dessert is weird, don’t worry I completely understand. I used to feel that way too. 
Many of the recipes I saw also had a thin layer of chocolate on top. I have opted to forgo the chocolate since the caramel is very RICH and DECADENT. But, by all means, feel free to enhance these salted caramel bars in any way you like. And trust me, just one small bite will totally satisfy that sweet tooth! 

Recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot
For the shortbread layer:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar

For the caramel layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt

To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.  (If the crust puffs up a bit while baking, just gently press it down while it is cooling.)  Let it cool completely.

To make the caramel layer, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly.  Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator and set before cutting.

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