Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars

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I first saw these bars on Pinterest, then my coworker’s girlfriend made them but I couldn’t try them because it was Passover, and now that the holiday is over and I’m actually in town again for a few weeks, I finally found the time to make them. These bars are INSANE.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars

The recipe calls for ONE POUND OF BUTTER, therefore they couldn’t possibly be bad,right? And between the two layers of buttery shortbread there is salted caramel, one of my favorite things in the whole world. And to make everything even better, the recipe is super easy and didn’t take much time.

Speaking of easy, I baked these in Chinet Bakeware which means I cut them right in the baking pan, popped on a lid, and they’re ready to go to the office in the morning–no need to transfer them to another container! Chinet sent me a huge box filled with different types of disposable baking pans and I’m looking forward to trying them all out. Plus, they offered to let me give away a box of bakeware to a reader, so stay tuned for more information and the giveaway!

Shortbread Ingredients
4 sticks (1 lb) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients
One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt


  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars. Using hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough in refrigerator.
  3. Bake until firm and edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.
  4. Add the cream and vanilla, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
  5. Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle the salt over top. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

Recipe adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth via Pip & Ebby.

Maple Chocolate Chip Shortbread

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When this month’s Bon Appetit showed up in my mailbox, I knew I was in heaven. There are a ton of maple recipes in this issue–maple cake, maple apple pie (going to try that one for Thanksgiving), and maple shortbread. Most of these recipes call for maple sugar, and having never heard of such a thing, I did some research which prepared me for the crazy price of a tiny bag of the sugar. I need to tell my coworkers they are eating gold or something, and they better like it because I doubled the recipe!

Maple Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Not only is the shortbread made with the maple sugar, there is maple syrup brushed on the top, and more maple sugar sprinkled on top of that, giving it a nice crunch. The cookies themselves are chewy and buttery, and not cloyingly sweet like you might expect. They’re a nice change from traditional shortbread, and I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before someone subs out the chocolate chips with bacon.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus additional for pan
7 tablespoons finely ground maple sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup (about) bittersweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B (I used Grade A)

Bon Appetit note: If maple sugar is coarse, grind it in a food processor until it resembles granulated sugar.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (I used a regular cake pan.) Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, 6 tablespoons maple sugar, and coarse salt in large bowl until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved. Add flour and beat just until blended. Pat dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Press chocolate chips into dough in random pattern, spacing chips 1/2 inch apart (chips should show). Brush dough with maple syrup and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon maple sugar.

Bake shortbread until golden brown and firm to touch, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool shortbread 10 minutes. Gently push tart pan bottom up, releasing shortbread. (Or double-flip out of the cake pan onto a cutting board like I did.) Cut warm shortbread into 16 wedges. Cool shortbread wedges completely and serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

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As some of you may know, I’m losing my job at the end of March. (Anyone want to hire a writer? I use my coworkers as recipe testers!) My company was acquired, a bunch of us were given termination dates, blah blah blah. Needless to say, everyone at the office has been super stressed. And when you’re stressed, you crave sweets. Right?

Brown Sugar Shortbread, oh yeah

Right. And that’s where this recipe comes in. Brown sugar, butter, flour, and salt–it can’t get much easier than that. And we all know anything that has brown sugar and butter as the first two ingredients can only be delicious. And to make these even better, they are chewy on the inside, crispy on the ends, rich, and have just a hint of salt.

Since this recipe made two pans, I added a teaspoon of wattleseed to the second half. This gave the shortbread a slightly nutty flavor, and cut down on the sweetness a bit (not that it needs any cutting down.)

Photos of the process here.

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Note from the LA Times: This recipe makes enough dough for 2 pans of cookies, so you can try a pan of each variety if you’d like. Because they’re baked in pans, the wedge cookies will retain more moisture, giving the cookies a chewy texture. Conversely, the bar cookies will be crisp because they are baked on an open, flat sheet.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar (I used dark because that’s all I had)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour


Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer or medium bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and salt until creamy, about 2 minutes, being careful not to overmix. Gradually beat in the flour, working in the last one-half cup with your hands if necessary (the dough will be stiff). Divide the dough in half.

  • To make chewy wedge-shaped cookies, butter 2 (8-inch) metal cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and press each half of the dough into a pan. Smooth the top with the bottom of a buttered measuring cup. Prick the dough with a fork in a decorative concentric circle pattern. Refrigerate the pans, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • To make crispy bar cookies, shape each dough half into a 10-by-4-inch rectangle on a lightly floured board. Run a blunt knife or your fingers along the edges to straighten them (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Carefully lift each rectangle onto a buttered baking sheet, lifting both edges with your hands. With a blunt knife, score each one once lengthwise without cutting all the way through. Score crosswise 11 times to make 24 rectangles. Prick each one several times with a fork. Refrigerate the sheets, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Bake both the wedge and bar shortbread until lightly brown along the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool for 5 minutes, then slice the shortbread while still warm (if the cookies are allowed to cool before slicing, they will crumble). Unmold the wedge shortbread by running a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cookies from the sides. Gently flip the pan over, then slice the shortbread into 12 wedges. Slice the bar cookies all the way through the scored marks before moving to a cooling rack.

Recipe from the LA Times.