We’re watching our friend’s cat right now, and it’s a lot of fun. Kramer and I want to get a pet so badly, but I just don’t think that I have the time, energy, or, frankly, money, to take care of an animal the way I would like to. For now, though, it’s just fun to pretend to have a pet for a week. His name is Eddie and he’s pretty funny. I’ve never had a cat before, but Kramer grew up with them so he’s more accustomed to their behavior than I am. My dog at home, Tessa, is always so interested in what you’re up to and even sleeps under the covers at the foot of the bed, which I love and miss so much! Eddie, though, is very much his own man. He is happy to come hang out with us on the couch, but only when he feels like it, and he’ll go away as soon as you move a muscle. We’ve been having fun watching him explore our apartment and trying to get his attention. He probably can’t wait for our friend to get home so he can get the hell out of here, which he has made very clear by digging his nails into our couch. At least he gets to go home tomorrow!
These bars really do taste like Twix, and I’m not even exaggerating. The crust is a shortbread cookie, which is buttery and slightly crisp, serving as the perfect base for these bars. The center is a lovely caramel, made from condensed milk, which you all know makes dulce de leche, so you can be sure that this caramel is absolutely delicious. I love how this caramel turned out; it’s rich and thick, but not too chewy or too sweet. The chocolate topping is pretty standard, but the fleur de sel picks things up and elevates these to a more sophisticated “Twix” bar – I’d be pretty happy if I unwrapped a candy wrapper and found this inside! This recipe makes plenty of bars for a party or to bring into the office, and it’s easy to make! There caramel doesn’t take any special equipment or having to stand by the stove for hour on end, and the fleur de sel makes things seem much more complicated than what they actually are. The best part is how thick these are, so each bite is full of shortbread, caramel, and salted chocolate – a perfect trio resulting in a fantastic dessert. I imagine that they would be very well received at your New Year’s Eve party! Enjoy!
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 12 oz. bag chocolate (I would have preferred semisweet, but I only had milk chocolate, so I used that and it was great, just sweet)
- 1 tablespoon fleur de sel, for topping
- Start by making your shortbread. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your hands (I think that using your hands is easier and makes for less clean up later), cut together the cold, cubed butter until a coarse crumb forms. Add in the water and egg yolks, and beat together until well combined.
- Grease a 9×13 pan with Pam or butter, then spread the shortbread dough out into the pan. The dough is pretty sticky, so I found it easiest to just spread it out with my hands. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Set aside to cool while you make the caramel.
- To make the caramel, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the brown sugar, the butter, the corn syrup, and the vanilla in a medium sized sauce pot. Place over medium heat and stir often until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and stir constantly until thickened. If you have a thermometer, you want the caramel to be around 220 degrees F. If you don’t, you want to stir for at least 5 solid minutes while it simmers.
- When the caramel is ready, pour it over the baked shortbread crust and spread it out evenly. Set the shortbread and caramel aside and let it cool and set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. While it sets, melt your chocolate in a double boiler if you have it. If not, you can just use a regular sauce pot and be sure to stir constantly so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. You can also use the microwave, stirring after 30 second intervals, until smooth. Spread the chocolate over the caramel and sprinkle with the tablespoon of fleur de sel. Place the whole pan in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Cut into bars and serve. Makes 36-40 bars and can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.