This recipe is from Mountain Mama Cooks. They were delicious and incredibly rich. I had cut them into bigger pieces originally, but after having one I realized that the bars needed to be smaller. I ended up taking them into work to share because there was no way Shawn and I could eat all of these in timely fashion.
I measured out flour, salt, brown sugar, and butter into the stand mixer bowl. Here it was specified that the butter be room temperature.
And used the stand mixer to combine them. The instructions said it should be a tad bit crumbly so I hoped this was correct.
I pressed this into a flat layer in my foil-lined baking dish.
And baked it for 15 minutes.
While the shortbread was baking, I started the caramel-y layer. This was step 5 of the directions and where I ran into my first issue.
Step 5 – “Meanwhile, combine sweetened condensed milk, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour over shortbread and put back into the oven to bake for another 15-18 minutes. You want the caramel middle just to be set. Remove from oven.”
The ingredient list is separated by the layers. This layer just had 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. While the shortbread layer indicated that the butter should be room temperature, this layer did not include instructions for the state of the butter. My guess is that it should be room temperature as well because it had to be combined with two liquids. However, it was too late for that.
I tried to mash the butter chunks the best I could, but you can still see them in there.
Then I poured this on top of the shortbread layer.
I baked it in the oven for another 18 minutes. While I was mixing the second layer ingredients, I was unclear about how this was supposed to become caramel. However, the descriptor in the recipe says caramel-y so I think it is supposed taste and feel like caramel, but not necessarily look like caramel.
The next part of the recipe was the toppings layer (step 6) and this was the second issue I ran into.
Step 6 – “Sprinkle the chocolate chips (*reserving 1/4 cup) over the bars. Wait 2 minutes and then spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the bars. Immediately sprinkle with toffee bits and walnuts.”
The ingredient list for this layer has 11 oz. bag of chocolate chips. No indication of dividing it there. The instructions mention sprinkling chocolate chips and then spreading melted chocolate. So something is missing here (no indication of how much to leave as chips and how much to melt). I just see that I am supposed to reserve 1/4 cup to melted later for a drizzle. So I melted all the chocolate and spread it as a layer.
I was using photos on the recipe page as a guide. I do not see whole chocolate chips in the chocolate layer, but the instructions indicate that this layer is supposed to be a combination of melted chocolate and chocolate chips.
I bought a small bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and had some leftover mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I weighed them to come out to 11 ounces. And took a quarter cup of this out for later.
Then I put this bowl on top of a pot with simmering hot water to melt slowly.
It melted nicely and I took it off the heat.
Then I spread it on top of the caramel-y layer.
The recipe author mentioned that it is hard to find toffee bits that are not mixed with chocolate. I did not find them in my store either. I will have to order them online for next time. But you can see here some of my toffee bits and there are chocolate bits in there along with chocolate “dust”.
I put sprinkled toffee bits and chopped walnuts on top.
Then I melted that last bit of chocolate chips (the 1/4 cup) and used a piping bag to drizzle it. It was not enough since my piping was sloppy.
I waited for this to cool completely before I cut it into bars.
When I do this again, I will divided the chocolate chips into three batches. I will put aside 1/4 cup to melt for drizzle. Then with the remaining chips, melt 2/3 and keep 1/3 as chocolate chips.