The pin from Tracey's Culinary Adventures caught my eye and my taste buds! The first time I made them, they were delicious but the chocolate was too soft (I added less butter to improve that) and her directions for the caramel were sparse. (I gave you more clear way to tell when it is done) This recipe makes a TON of bars so save this for a special gathering or simply give some away!
First bake the shortbread. It is a simple recipe and process. Combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and set aside. In medium/large bowl cream together 2 sticks of softened butter and 1/2 cup of sugar. When well mixed, add in half of the flour mixture and mix well. Add in the second half of the flour mixture and mix well. The original recipe calls for lining the 9x13 pan with parchment paper. I used foil as it forms better to the sides of the pan and does not absorb buttery goodness that you want to keep in your cookie layer! The dough is much more doughy and scant compared to most cookie doughs. You will have to work to get an even layer... use your play-dough skills from your childhood. I pat and push mine at the same time to get it to move! Bake in 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.
The shortbread should be light blonde (not brown or even tan) when cooked.
The middle will not be squishy but the cookie is VERY soft.
Allow cookie to cool completely before starting to make caramel.
Combine 1 stick of butter chopped into about 8 pieces, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of corn syrup, and 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan. On medium high, stir constantly until the butter is melted and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Keep heat at medium high but now you can give your hand a rest few a few seconds as you still need to stir but not constantly! When the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium to prevent scorching. Stir occasionally and cook until Butt Crack stage is reached! See the following images and messages about the process!
When the mixture begins to boil it changes color and gets a little thicker. This is NOT done!
Soon it will coat the spoon... this is also not done! Keep scraping the sides too!
Your caramel will be done when it reaches this BUTT CRACK stage. The caramel gets so thick that when you drag your spoon through it, it keeps the line while you count up to "5-one-thousand"
Pour over cooled shortbread and spread into a smooth layer. See image below! Let caramel cool completely. I put mine in the fridge for at least an hour.
In a double boiler (or medium bowl stuck on a small pan with 2 inches of water) combine 8oz of semi-sweet chocolate (chopped or chips), 1 teaspoon of corn syrup, and 1/2 a stick of butter. (The original recipe calls for 1/2cup which made the chocolate very soft even when ice cold.) When fully melted pour and spread over top of cold caramel layer. Give the pan a little shimmy and shake to smooth out any marks from spreading! After 10 minutes sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of coarse salt to the top. I used a kosher salt grinder on it's largest grind. If you add the salt too soon it will melt. If I were making this for kids, I would leave the salt off. It adds a bit of adult flavor to a candy! Place the pan in fridge until chocolate is no longer soft.
Using foil as handles remove whole product from pan. You will have to insert a knife in between cookie and pan along both ends if you foil was a little short like mine! Place foil and cookie on cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the long side of the bar into 5 small rectangles. Each should now measure 9x2.5 inches Now cut 1 inch thick slices from each rectangle. You will now have 45 smaller rectangles that measure 1x2.5 inches... like I said this makes a LOT of cookies! Keep in fridge. Take out 15 minutes before serving so the caramel can soften enough to be at its best!