Easy London Cafe Caramel Shortbread Bars

Caramel Shortbread Bars

Caramel Shortbread Bars

First of all I apologize for the poor picture quality, that’s what I get for using my cell phone instead of my real camera!  And second….I’ve never actually had one of these at a British cafe, let alone been to London, but the original poster of this recipe says they are very similar.  In any case, these bars are so addicting and are easy to make.  They look similar to the Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars here and here but some have some subtle differences, particularly the use of cornstarch in the crust and honey instead of corn syrup in the caramel.  The honey gives the caramel a deeper and earthier flavor, which I think works well in the bar.

This recipe takes a little time as it is done in 3 steps, but it’s an EASY 3 steps!  I adore the simplicity of the ingredient list and I love these straight from the fridge.  You can find the original recipe here, and below is my version with a couple changes.

Caramel Shortbread Bars

CRUST:
14 TBLS of softened butter
1/4 cup + 2 TBLS of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of cornstarch
3/4 cups of unbleached flour

CARAMEL FILLING:
1 stick (8 TBLS) of butter
1/4 cup + 2 TBLS brown sugar
2 TBLS of honey (or corn syrup)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

TOPPING:
7-8 oz. of Baker’s dipping chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1. line an 8×10 or 7×11 pan with parchment paper, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and blend thoroughly.  Add in flour and cornstarch and mix well.  Press crust evenly into the pan, and bake for 25-28 or until firm and edges are *just* turning lightly golden.

3. While the crust is baking, combine the first 3 caramel ingredients into a small pot over medium heat.  Stir the ingredients well and as soon as it begins to simmer allow it to continue simmering for 7 minutes.  Check on the mixture once in a while to make sure the heat isn’t too high, or it will burn.  After 7 minutes – turn off the heat, add in vanilla, and slowly stir in all of the sweetened condensed milk.

4. Once the crust is ready, pour all of the caramel over it and put back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

5. Once the bars are cool, melt the Baker’s chocolate according to the instructions and spread over the top of the bars. ***If you are using semi-sweet chocolate chips – do NOT add in anything or the chocolate will not re-harden correctly!  Use can either use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate or a microwave on low power.  If you are using a microwave make sure you melt it slowly and stir it often, it burns easily!

6. Lastly, when the chocolate it just starting to cool and set along the edges (so still soft), you can score it with a butter knife.  Just run the knife across the chocolate exactly how you want to cut them once cooled.  This will prevent the chocolate from “cracking” and breaking off in small shards when you finally cut into the bars.

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