Caramel Shortbread Bars
Buttery shortbread topped with gooey caramel and rich chocolate. Sonja Runck is a genius.
Makes 24 bars
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Caramel Filling:
9 T butter
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp corn syrup (or golden syrup, if available)
1/3 cup plus 2 T superfine sugar
2 cups toasted and halved hazelnuts or almonds

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (garnish) *Optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla and salt, then add flour and stir just until mixed. Press into bottom of pan and bake for 20 minutes or until pale and gold.

In a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and then add the condensed milk, corn or golden syrup and sugar. Turn the heat to low and stir continuously for 12-15 minutes until the mixture is dark caramel in color (do not let it burn).

Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts. Spread evenly over the crust and allow to cool.

For topping, melt chocolate in microwave or top of double boiler and pour over nuts. Let it cool completely. Melt white chips in a heavy duty freezer bag in microwave or melt in a bowl and transfer to a freezer bag. Snip a tiny piece of bottom and drizzle over top. Let cool.

Cut bars after they have cooled and set. I found them easier to cut after they have chilled.

Cut into 16 or 24 bars (these are thick).

From the kitchen of Sonja Runck