I'm always a little hesitant to make new recipes when I know company is coming but seem to find myself doing it all the time. Then, to add more stress to the scenario, I often modify the recipe as I go. Crazy right? I won't blame you if you decline my next dinner party invite. Nevertheless, I didn't have much baking
Warning: These are definitely resolution makers. Trust me, there's nothing healthy about these uber-rich squares. But they're oh-so-delicious. Not bad for my first try.
Caramel Shortbread Squares (with modifications*, of course)
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or more as needed)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup half&half creme*
- 1 cup crushed nuts, divided (I used honey coated peanuts)*
1. Preheat oven to 350'F (175'C).
2. In a medium bowl, combine base ingredients to create a crumbly mixture. Press firmly into a 9x9 baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
3. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine caramel ingredients and slowly bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and beat vigorously for about 3 minutes to thicken. Pour over shortbread crust and let cool until firm to the touch.
4. Sprinkle about half of the crushed nuts over caramel, pressing down gently.
5. Melt chocolate in medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Blend in half&half creme to create a smooth mixture. Pour into a piping bag (or plastic bag) and drizzle over the caramel.
6. Top with remaining crushed nuts and let cool in refrigerator until set (approx. 20 min).
7. Cut into squares and enjoy!
*Originally the recipe called for a smooth chocolate top but I wanted to add some texture so I added the half&half creme to thin out the chocolate for drizzling (opposed to spreading on a thick layer) and added the crushed nuts for a bit of a crunch/hint of saltiness. Fortunately for me (and our company) they turned out really well!