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Caramel Shortbread Bars: Week 2 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Yes, two posts in one day! I couldn't decide which link-up I wanted to join more (Munchkin Meals for A Healthy Slice of Life or 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats for Meal Planning Magic), so I did a post for both. 

In my mind, if it's not chocolate, it's not dessert. When I'm hosting an event, planning the menu, there are always at least two desserts, and at least one is chocolate. My name is Coleen, and I'm a chocoholic. There, I said it. My mom blames my grandmother, who gave me my first taste of chocolate when I was 10 days old.  (It was Easter and she let me lick a Kit Kat. Funnily enough, that's now my least favorite candy bar.)

Now, I don't remember the exact age I became obsessed with interested in cooking and baking. I remember making these bars years and years ago, probably while I was in culinary school. I would clip recipes from magazines and make them, just to experiment.

These bar cookies are rich and decadent: crisp shortbread, gooey caramel, thick chocolate glaze. Cut the 8-x-8 sheet into two-bite size (1 inch by 2 inches), they would make a great addition to a holiday buffet dessert table.

Caramel Shortbread Bars
Adapted from Bakers Royale and My Madison Bistro
Yield; 32 (1-inch x 2-inch) bars
For the cookie crust: 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the caramel:

  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk

For the chocolate glaze: 

  • 9 ounces chocolate, finely chopped (the higher percentage, the better)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, soft


  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving three to four inches of overhang on two sides. 
  2. Cream the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. Beat in the sugars and vanilla. 
  3. Whisk together the flour and the salt, then fold into the butter mixer. Spread the dough into the baking pan and smooth in an even layer. Chill for one hour. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, just until the cookie crust starts to brown at the edges. 
  5. Refrigerate crust until ready to add caramel layer, at least one hour and up to two days. 
  6. Place the brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for one hour to 90 minutes, until caramel-colored and thickened. 
  7. Pour over cookie crust. Place in the freezer for one hour. 
  8. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before adding chocolate glaze. 
  9. Place the chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water over lowest heat. Stir frequently, until only a few lumps of chocolate remain. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Pour over caramel layer. Refrigerate at least one hour. 
  10. To cut, dip knife in boiling water, wipe clean with a kitchen towel, and make a cut. Dip knife in hot water, wipe dry, make another cut. Repeat with entire sheet. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator with wax paper between each bar. 

To see more Christmas treats, please visits the blogs below!

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12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Round-Up

Thursday 20th of December 2012

[...] right of the row is decadent caramel shortbread bars, and bottom right in that row is peppermint marshmallows. Store-bought marshmallows just [...]


Friday 5th of October 2012

I'm a sucker for caramel..well, and chocolate...and shortbread for that matter. These look AMAZING!

Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)

Thursday 4th of October 2012

I love a good shortbread. And these topped with caramel & chocolate? Perfect!


Thursday 4th of October 2012

Hello SERIOUS yumminess! :-)

Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction

Thursday 4th of October 2012

Your bars look heavenly. Chocolate, caramel and shortbread...what could be better.

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