Sunday, May 13, 2012

Salted Carmel Shortbread Bites

Salted caramel is definitely a trendy flavor that people go crazy over these days, and all for good reason!  The combination of salty and sweet is wonderful here, especially with the sprinkling of sea salt and the shortbread layer to help cut out some of the sweetness of the caramel.  I love shortbread in any form, but especially underneath a layer of thick, creamy caramel.  I decided to cut my caramel bars into little bite-sized pieces since the caramel is pretty rich, and I think they're the perfect portion to appease your sweet tooth without actually rotting your teeth in one bite! 

Don't be intimidated by making caramel at home - just invest in a cheap candy thermometer, follow the recipe instructions, and you'll be licking the spoon in no time :)  I probably could have let my caramel get a little deeper in color by letting it boil a bit longer, but I was anxious to put these together and they still tasted great.  Just like I was nervous to attend my first blogging conference, candy-making can be nerve-wracking too, but these are too good to pass over - give them a try and you won't be sorry!  

Salted Caramel Shortbread 
Recipe from Pinterest

For the shortbread layer:
10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1-2/3 cups flour

For the caramel:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the sides to make removal easier.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and salt with a pastry cutter or fork.  Add the egg yolk and continue mixing.  
- Add the flour and use your hands to combine the dough until coarse crumbs form.  Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and press it down into one even layer.  
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes, until slightly golden brown.  Set aside to cool.  
- For the caramel, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, sugar, and heavy cream.  Bring to a boil and stir for about 5-10 minutes until caramel reaches the "soft ball stage" at around 230 degrees.  
- Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour caramel over the shortbread.  
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, then sprinkle with sea salt and cut into squares.  Store caramels in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.

Silver Girl....

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