These shortbread caramel bars are filled with a soft shortbread, a creamy caramel, and covered with milk chocolate.
It’s October and that means it’s time for candy!! I wanted to make some homemade candy because what better way to celebrate Halloween than with some delicious homemade treats?
One of my favorite candy’s is Twix. It’s not surprising. I love shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. Combine everything and how could it not be delicious? This recipe only takes a few more steps that just baking shortbread cookies. And it’s worth that extra effort for the chocolaty, caramel goodness.
Although I was trying to recreate Twix, this recipe went a little sideways for reasons I will discuss later. It’s still absolutely delicious but I’m going to call these shortbread caramel bars rather than Twix. I will definitely be trying this process again, but different, to perfect the craft.
Check out the Make section of MCG for more fun recipes like desserts and savory dishes. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
Most of the ingredients needed for this recipe can be found in a kitchen at any time but there are some unique ingredients needed to make the caramel. Mainly light corn syrup and heavy cream. My natural love for baking has me hoard some wild ingredients.
Making the Shortbread
I think that Shortbread is one of the easiest cookies to make. The first step is beating the crap out of some butter and vanilla extract. I mean whisking. Fists are good whisks, right? Then I added in the salt and sugar and creamed the ingredients together until the mixture was smooth.
Lastly, I added the flour into the mix and let everything combine to create a dough. Or a crumbly mess. I ended up bringing the dough together with my hands as the mixer could only make dough chunks. I create a brick of dough and allowed it to chill before moving onto shaping.
For making the shortbread caramel treats, I decided to bake the dough in a giant sheet and cut into pieces later in the process. To accomplish this, I rolled out the dough onto a sheet tray to be about 1/4th of an inch thick. Then into the oven it went!
I forgot one the of the reasons I hate making shortbread. I can never tell when they are finished cooking. They always just look so… pale. At some point, I just had to accept that they had finished cooking.
The final cookie sheet was cooled and then placed into by 9 inch by 9 inch pan which I was using as a mold.
Cooking the Caramel
The next step was to cook the caramel. This process takes place on the stove and in the microwave. First, I put the butter and cream into a microwave safe bowl and cooked it for approximately a minute (I ended up doing 30 second bursts). This step should fully melt the butter into the cream.
Then I put the water, light corn syrup, and sugar into a pan and began to cook it over a medium heat on the stove. The sugar should dissolve and the whole clear mixture should boil until it reaches three hundred- and twenty-degrees Fahrenheit.
And now for the fun part. Or the slightly violent part. I poured about one fourth of the butter mixture into the sugar. The sugar did not like this at all. It began to bubble and violently burst towards me.
Then it calmed down a bit but it still had a more honeycomb like texture going on in the pot. The sugar was forever changes. So, I did it again. And again. And again. After four times, I didn’t have any more unincorporated butter mixture.
The caramel was heated up to about two hundred- and forty-degrees Fahrenheit. Then I poured the hot caramel into the 9-inch by 9-inch pan. On top of the shortbread cookie. This seemed like a good idea. The process was sound, but I think this step caused the cookie to soften.
Finishing the Bars
I used a butter knife to pry the shortbread and caramel layers out of the pan. The caramel stuck slightly after it solidified. Then it was time to cut the shortbread caramel bars into, well… bars. I did my best to cut the bars into identical shapes but that is not my strong suit.
I was able to do the vertical cuts fairly evens but I did not do the horizontal cuts as well. Should have used a ruler. It would have been more precise than just estimating it. But hey! It’ll all taste the same even if the shapes are slightly different.
Then it was time to add the chocolate. First, I melted the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. So much chocolate. I did the next step working with one cookie at a time. I balanced a cookie on a fork and dipped it into chocolate. Using a spoon, I ladled chocolate over any uncovered parts of the bars.
This was a messy process, and I don’t think it was the best way to go about covering the bars with chocolate. This method left each bar with an uncovered bottom which was not my original intention. But they tasted delicious all the same.
The end results were messier than I wanted them to be, but they tasted absolutely delicious. I could eat an entire bucket if it wouldn’t make me sick from sweets. I definitely think I could have done better in the chocolate coating but that’s something I should research more later.
The other thing that swayed away from my original goal is softness of the cookie. I didn’t get that classic crunch that I was hoping for. But that just means I have to make more to get the right recipe. Oh no… what ever will I do 😉.
Working with Chocolate
The biggest challenge in making these bars was the chocolate. I decided to go with a dip method which ended up being messy and did not cover the bottom. I feel a bit part of this mess can be attributed to my determination to cover the chocolate in on step. A two-step approach would have been better for a more even and consistent coverage.
Shortbread Caramel Bar
- 10 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter chilled
- ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 3 Tablespoon Water
- ¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Cup Milk Chocolate
- Prepare 1 9inch by 9inch tin to shape the shortbread caramel treats. Line with a parchment paper cross for easy removal and grease the sides lightly with oil.
- Cream together butter and vanilla until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and salt and mix until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the edges of the bowl and add in flour. Mix until combine. The dough should resemble a crumb like texture.
- Using your hand, bring the dough together into a brick like shape. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a rolling pin to work dough into a ½ inch slab. Cut slab into a square of the prepared tin. Use a fork to make an indented patten into the dough.
- Refrigerator for 10 minute to firm up the dough.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are gently colored. Remove from oven and place on a baking rack to let cool. Be very careful when moving.
- Once cool, place in the prepared 9inch by 9inch pan.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the butter in1 Tablespoon chunks with the heavy cream. Heat for approximately 1 minute or until the mixture is hot and the butter is melted. Set aside.
- Combine water, corn syrup, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stirring as needed. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 320° Fahrenheit.
- Careful pour ¼ of the butter mixture into the boiling sugar. The sugar will bubbly violently so be careful during this step. Mix until fully incorporated. Repeat until the butter mixture is fully combined.
- Cook the caramel until it reaches 240° Fahrenheit, approximately 5 minutes.
- Immediately pour the caramel on top of the shortbread cookie in the 9-inch by 9-inch pan. Let cool at room temperature for about 4 hours.
- Demold shortbread and caramel and cut intostick approximately 1 inch by 3 inches.
- In a heatproof bowl, microwave the chocolate on 30 second bursts until melted. Stir occasionally.
- Using a fork or spoon, dip the stick into the chocolate and use a spoon to ladle the chocolate over the top as needed.
- Set aside to allow chocolate to harden. Repeat until all cookies have been covered.
- Allow chocolate to chill for about 30 minutes.