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.)
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.
- 10 tbs salted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk, whisked
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
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.
- 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