Shortbread is one of my all-time favorite types of cookies. I like to think that I've mastered the perfect shortbread recipe at this point (the same one I use in my lemon bars) but when I saw this caramel topped version at doughmesstic.com, I couldn't resist adapting it into my shortbread recipe!
Salted Caramel Shortbread Bites
For the Shortbread
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
For the Caramel
- 14 Tbsp salted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange extract (optional)
- Sea salt flakes, to top
- candy thermometer (or any thermometer that goes up to 230°)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lay parchment paper in a 8 x 8 baking pan. (Make sure the parchment is cut a bit long so that the edges hang off the side of the pan, making it easier to remove the bites after baking.)
Begin with the shortbread:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar.
In a separate medium bowl, mix the flour and salt together then with the electric mixer on low, slowly add the flour/salt mixture to the butter/sugar until mixed, creating a dough.
Place the dough onto lightly floured parchment paper and gather into a ball. Press the ball of dough into the 8x8 pan and spread around evenly creating a crust layer. Refrigerate for 30 mins, remove and then bake at 350 for 18-25 mins until very lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack while preparing the caramel.
...and then the Caramel:
In a heavy bottomed pot, such as enameled cast iron, combine all caramel topping ingredients except for the vanilla and orange extracts.
Bring ingredients to a boil and stir until sugars are dissolved and the mixture is well combined. Using the thermometer, watch for the goal temp of about 230 degrees.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and orange extracts. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then pour over the shortbread base. Sprinkle with sea salt, then refrigerate for several hours. Once chilled, cut into small squares and serve.
Great for parties or a yummy post meal nibble!