Caramel Shortbread Bars

 Caramel Shortbread Bars are great for sharing any time of the year.

Caramel Shortbread Bars
Makes 48

  • Shortbread:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Caramel:
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chocolate:
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnish: sea salt flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. For shortbread: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugars; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Add flour; beat until dough comes together. (Do not overbeat.) Press dough into prepared pan.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
  4. For caramel: In a medium saucepan, cook condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and mixture is combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture is amber colored and thickened and a candy thermometer registers 235°, 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture should begin pulling away from sides of pan while stirring. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and salt. Pour over cooled shortbread, using a small of set spatula to spread evenly. Let cool completely.
  5. For chocolate: In a small saucepan, cook chocolate chips and cream over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool about 5 minutes. Pour over cooled caramel layer, using a small of set spatula to spread evenly. Let cool until chocolate is hardened or place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Garnish with sea salt flakes, if desired. Remove from pan and cut into 3×1-inch bars.

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