Friday, June 6, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

While the fiance and I were in Leeds visiting my sister the other week, we tried this amazing salted caramel shortbread from Layne's Espresso. A buttery shortbread topped with oozy salted caramel and a thin layer of dark chocolate. It was amazing. Seriously. And of course I had to give it a shot myself!

This is a decadent treat. I mean, one square of this chocolate caramel shortbread is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth for a full day. The caramel in this recipe is soft, but holds it's shape and won't leave you with seriously sticky fingers. I used chocolate with 70% cacao solids and it really balances out the sweetness from the caramel. An extra pinch of salt in the caramel and a light sprinkling of it on top of the chocolate leaves you with a lovely salted caramel cookie.

You might want a glass of water or milk close by when you indulge in this treat!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread (barely adapted from Once Upon a Chef)
Makes 16 squares, fills 1 8x8 square pan

For the shortbread
1 cup flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 113 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp ice water
1 large egg yolk

For the caramel
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
6 tbsp or 85 g unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt

For the chocolate layer
6 ounces or 170 g chocolate, use semisweet or dark (I used 100 g 70% cacao chocolate and 70 g semisweet chocolate)
3 tbsp heavy cream

Start with the shortbread layer by preheating the oven to 350F or 175C. Line your square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure there is an overhang so that it will be easy to remove the cookies from the tray later.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Sift and break up any clumps of brown sugar. Cut in the butter (with a pastry cutter, food processor or with your fingers) until a coarse meal forms. Add the ice water and egg yolk and gently mix until moist clumps form. Dump the mixture into the pan and press with your fingers to form an even layer. Sprinkle some flour on your fingers if necessary to keep them from sticking to the dough. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden. Set aside to cool.

When your shortbread has finished baking, start making the caramel. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, syrup, vanilla extract and salt in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar and butter have melted and the mixture starts to boil, place a candy thermometer into the pot, boil gently and whisk until the caramel thickens reaches 225F or 107C. Once the caramel has reached the right temperature, pour it over the layer of shortbread and let it cool until set.

Chop the chocolate and place it into a small saucepan with the heavy cream. Heat on a low heat and stir until the chocolate and cream have combined. Pour and spread the chocolate over the caramel. Sprinkle a bit more salt on top if you'd like. Place the pan in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the chocolate to set. When the chocolate has set, cut the shortbread into squares and store in an airtight box in the fridge until ready to serve.

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