A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brown Butter Toffee Shortbread Squares with Caramel and Chocolate

If you're totally "over" the sweet and salty combo - then you should just leave now. This recipe is not for you, unless of course you adapt it, which, come to think of it, wouldn't be hard at all (i.e. leave out the salt - or use unsalted butter - but don't do both). So I take that back, you can totally stay. 
Last year, I made a homemade version of twix bars. They were insanely good and quickly made the short list for this year's Christmas baking. However, while browsing recipes I stumbled on Toffee Squares by Joy of Cooking. They are a simple bar composed of a base of toffee-like shortbread, and then topped with chocolate and almonds. They're probably good as is, but I wouldn't know cause I went ahead and tweaked it beyond recognition.
What I ended up with was these, a buttery toffee-like shortbread base, (intensified with browned butter no less), with a chewy caramel layer, and a silky milk chocolate topping. With these squares on a plate of Christmas baking, no one is going to bother with the plain jane shortbread cookies sitting next to them. That's a fact. 
You do have to get over your type A personality though when it comes to cutting them. The base will crumble a bit, rendering it impossible to get a picture perfect square. But once you taste them, you'll get over that. I sure did.
Recipe for Brown Butter Toffee Shortbread Squares with Caramel and Chocolate
(adapted from Joy of Baking)
For the Base:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (again, if you don't want them salty, you could omit - but don't omit if you're also using unsalted butter)
For the caramel layer:
1 package of craft caramels (340 gram bag), unwrapped
2 Tbsp. cream
For the chocolate layer:
6 ounces of good quality milk chocolate (or semi-sweet if you prefer, but I wouldn't recommend using chocolate chips - splurge on the good stuff here)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Continue to cook until it is golden brown in color. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar and vanilla, mix well. Add flour and salt and mix until completely incorporated. Press the mixture into a foil-lined 9 inch square pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Let cool.
Put unwrapped caramels and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for about 2 to 3 minutes, checking often and stirring in between. Only cook until you are able to get a smooth consistency. Pour over cooled crust. 
Allow to harden in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Melt chocolate. Pour over caramel and chill until set. Cut into small squares.


  1. Oh my word these look AMAZING! I LOVE caramel and chocolate together almost as much as I love chocolate and peanut butter!

  2. Oh wow! I love chocolate and caramel together and I love salty and sweet! Hope you didn't eat them all yourself like I would. :-)


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