My son, Dwight Stewart, is the Physician Relations and Recruitment Coordinator for the Seton Hospitals in Austin and other Seton hospitals in the Austin area.
Dwight has a coworker friend, Carrie Schumacher, who until lately had been a newscaster for a local Austin TV station. Not being her only responsibility but should you call one of the Seton Hospitals, she is the automated "voice" answering the telephone.
Carrie recently made and brought these cookie bars to work. It surprised me because Dwight is not very fond of sweets unless of course it is chocolate. He is one of those people that prefer another helping of steak and potatoes if dessert is on the menu. However, Dwight's comment about these bars was, "Mom, these were so delicious; I just couldn't stop eating them."
Although I have not made these, it seems it requires several steps and time. I trust my son telling me it is worth preparing and a KEEPER recipe.
In Carrie's opinion (not Dwight's), these bars are better without the chocolate.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. light corn syrup
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
fleur de sel or sea salt for sprinkling
To make the shortbread, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour mix until just incorporated. Transfer the dough in to the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the caramel, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue simmering and stirring until the mix turns an amber color and thickens a bit.
Pour over the shortbread layer as evenly as possible, and allow to cool completely and set by chilling in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
For the chocolate layer, in a double boiler, combine the chocolate, corn syrup and butter over simmering water.
Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pour evenly over the caramel layer and use an offset spatula to smooth it out. Allow to cool for a minute or two and sprinkle on the fleur de sel.
Chill, covered, until ready to slice or serve.
Makes 3 dozen bars.