Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars

One last Christmas baking recipe to tell you about before the big day.

These are delicious, even if they are a bit time consuming to make because of the cooling time necessary for the proper building of the layers. The combination of shortbread for the base with caramel in the centre and chocolate on top would be enough, but throw some salt over all that at the end and these move into a whole new level of atmospheric heights. We are talking exosphere for sure.

Let’s get going so we can be eating these bars on Christmas day. Who needs turkey?

Start with butter and sugar in the mixing bowl.

Sugar and butter.

Sugar and butter.

Beat for at least 3 minutes, until this is lighter and fluffy.

Properly creamed.

Properly creamed.

Add the flour and combine. Do not overmix.

Add the flour (whatfoodimade action shot #1!).

Add the flour (whatfoodimade action shot #1!).

This is the dough for the bottom layer.

Dough for the base layer.

Dough for the base layer.

Baked until golden brown.

Bottom layer is baked.

Bottom layer is baked.

Near the end of the cooling time for the base, start making the toffee layer.

In a saucepan combine some more butter and sugar plus some maple syrup.

More butter, more sugar and maple syrup (whatfoodimade action shot #2!).

More butter, more sugar and maple syrup (whatfoodimade action shot #2!).

Pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Add the sweetened condensed milk (whatfoodimade action shot #3!).

Add the sweetened condensed milk (whatfoodimade action shot #3!).

Bring all this to a bubbling boil and do not stop stirring for 5 – 7 minutes.

Boiling the toffee.

Boiling the toffee.

Pour the toffee over the shortbread layer and leave it to set.

Pour the toffee over the shortbread layer (whatfoodimade action shot #4!).

Pour the toffee over the shortbread layer (whatfoodimade action shot #4!).

Level the toffee layer.

Levelled toffee layer.

Levelled toffee layer.

After two hours, this is ready to have the next layer added.

Two hours later.

Two hours later.

Get the chocolate melting.

Melting the chocolate.

Melting the chocolate.

Ready for pouring.

All melted.

All melted.

Now spread the chocolate over top of the toffee.

Pour the chocolate over the toffee.

Pour the chocolate over the toffee.

Fleur de sel for sprinkling.

Fleur de sel.

Fleur de sel.

One big Irish Shortbread Toffee Bar.

One giant bar.

One giant bar.

Slightly smaller Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars.

Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars.

Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars.

Here’s the recipe:
http://www.thekitchn.com/irish_shortbread_toffee_bars-179727

Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars
Yields 12 bars

For the shortbread:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the toffee:
2 sticks salted butter
1 cup sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 (10 ounce bag) good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
Sea salt (optional)

For the shortbread, preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater blade (or with an electric mixer), cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low speed until crumbly, making sure not to over-mix the dough. Press into the bottom of an 8 x 11-inch baking dish and cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.

For the toffee, combine the butter, sugar, condensed milk, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, continue to stir until it is thick and golden brown (but not burned), about 5-7 minutes. Pour over the cooked shortbread and allow to set at least an hour or as long as overnight. (If you love caramel flavor, use all of the sauce, or use less for a thinner layer.)

Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Spread over the cooled caramel layer, sprinkle with sea salt (if using), and cool completely. Cut into squares before serving.

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