Sunday, January 29, 2012

Caramel Shortbread

Over the holidays, we made a delicious recipe for caramels that did not use any corn syrup. While those caramels approached perfection in my mind, Sarah had been longing to go that extra mile and make some caramel shortbread. Yep, tender shortbread topped with sweet and buttery caramel. Well, how could I argue with that?
We gilded the lily by sprinkling lavender blossoms on about 3/4 of our batch. For the last quarter we went a little nuts, trying both pink vanilla salt on some and smoked salt on the rest. This resulted in three totally different flavors, with the vanilla salt being the most conservative. The lavender was delicious, although definitely perfumey. The smoked salt smoldered.
While it takes a few steps (making both the caramel and the shortbread), it all comes together rather easily. The shortbread is especially simple -- mixed, pressed, and then baked. Once you heat the caramel, it just pours right onto the pre-baked shortbread. Then comes the tough part -- waiting for everything to firm up so that you can enjoy that first delicious bite.
We found our inspiration recipe over at Doughmesstic, but we subbed in our own caramel recipe because it doesn't use any corn syrup (and it is just really, really tasty.)

Shortbread Caramels

 

shortbread layer

  • 10 tbs salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
Prepare an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper with the edges of the parchment hanging over two of  the sides. This allows you to remove the bars easily once cooled. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and salt with a fork in a large bowl. Add the yolk and again combine with the fork. Add the flour and stir with a heavy spoon or your hands and combine the dough until it is well combined. Place the dough in the prepared pan and press down evenly with your hands until the pan is covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Remove and bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes, until very lightly browned. Allow to cool while you are preparing the caramel.



caramel layer

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tb vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 4oz salted butter, room temperature
  • lavender or sea salt for sprinkling
  • special equipment: candy thermometer
Combine sugar, honey, and vanilla extract in a large non-reactive pot. Turn on the heat and let the sugar and honey melt and cook until caramelized (it will slowly become a deep, dark brown color.) While the sugar is cooking, bring the cream to a simmer.When the sugar reaches the color you like, whisk in the butter in small knobs, until well mixed, then add the warmed cream, whisk until smooth. Let the mixture cook until the temperature reaches 240F (for high altitude - we are at 5,000 ft) or 260F for lower altitudes. Pour the caramel over the pre-baked shortbread. Sprinkle with lavender or sea salt, and refrigerate until cool. Cut into small squares and enjoy.

16 comments:

  1. looks gorgeous! I like shortbread.

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  2. Those are just beautiful! Can't wait to try your recipe! Especially love the lavender and different salts. Inspiring!

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  3. I just found you through a comment on my blog. I think I just found my favorite new recipe site! THANK YOU!

    Kristin Ramey - Long Shadow Farm

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    1. Hi Kristin, thanks so much. We love your eggs! :)

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  4. I wish I could savor one of your caramels for dessert! They look so rich and delicious. I bet one little square would satisfy my sweet tooth!

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  5. Lovely shots! And what a combination of flavors. Yum!

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  6. Looking forward to testing this new shortbread with tea. Ship samples ASAP. Thanks.

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  7. This looks amazing. I recently found my grandmother's recipe for shortbread and I have been experimenting in dipping in regular melted chocolate and also spicy chocolate as in Mexican Hot Chocolate, but not in a drink. Can't wait to try this.

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  8. This sounds divine!

    http://smultronsoul.blogspot.com/

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  9. so so good! I wish I could have one, or two pieces now!

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  10. I need to make these this instant. The lavender pushes it over the top for me.

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  11. looks absolutely delish!!! i'll definitely have to try these out!

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  12. Just made these - DELICIOUS! Although, what did I do wrong? The caramel all melted off of the shortbread...did I not refrigerate long enough? It was in there several hours....Any other clues? Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

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    1. Glad they were delicious despite melting caramel! We actually have discovered (over in the comments section for our original caramel recipe) that we only have to cook to 240 to get firm caramels because we are at high altitude! we're at 5,000 ft in Colorado. People at more normal altitudes need to cook to a temp closer to 260. I'll update this recipe accordingly, and here's the link for the original caramel recipe with all sorts of great info in the comments section: http://www.two-tarts.com/2011/12/vanilla-caramels-with-sea-salt.html

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  13. I looked everywhere for a recipe for homemade caramels without corn syrup, and I found this glorious blog post. I cannot wait to make this recipe! I am going to make it for family and distribute gorgeous bits of corn syrup-free deliciousness for Christmas. Thanks for the post!

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