I thought about posting a salad this week. Something to help me detox from the all the sweet potato souffle this Thanksgiving. But let’s face it. No one wants to hear about salad right now. Hauling out the holly also means the beginning of the Christmas baking season. For me that means two things, homemade caramels and shortbread cookies. So can you blame me for not being able to get this Pinterest find off my mind? Check out this beauty….of Salted Caramel Shortbread Squares.
A layer of buttery shortbread on the bottom. A nice, home-brewed caramel layer in the middle and a little salt sprinkled on top for flavor and flare. It’s Christmas baking to Luke Perry-level perfection.
Melted butter, add in the sugar, flour and salt. Let it cool slightly and add in beaten egg. Press into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment. (I used a bit of spray to help the paper stick to the bottom.) Leaving some overhang will help you remove the block later on.
As the shortbread is cooling you can work on the caramel. I was going for the soft ball stage here. (235-244 degrees) I think I went a little past it (about 250) but it turned out just fine. I haven’t done the softball check for, like, ever. But here is what I learned in hindsight. You drop a spoonful of hot syrup into ice water. In the water, use your fingers to gather the cooled syrup into a ball. If it has reached soft-ball stage, the syrup easily forms a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed from the water. (I wish I could have photographed this step but Googling how to do it while keeping the mixture from boiling over while getting the ice water ready while shaking a child off my leg made it absolutely impossible.)
A note for those of you using thermometers. Check the accuracy of your thermometer by measuring plain boiling water. It should be 212 degrees at sea level. For every 1000 feet you gain in elevation, subtract 2 degrees. The degree range I gave you above (235-244 degrees) is based on your elevation. I’m right around sea level so I had to go towards the upper end of the range. Those of you at higher elevations won’t have to wait so long. Remember, subtract 2 degrees per 1000 feet.
Are you feeling terrified right now? Don’t. I was able to make it work with virtually no caramel-making experience. The squares will be tasty at any point in the caramel softness spectrum.
Let it cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Then cut and serve. I wouldn’t leave them at room temp for more than a couple hours. The caramel may start to lose it’s shape a bit. When you plate, make sure the squares aren’t touching so they don’t stick together. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!
Thank you for supporting HowDoesShe by shopping through amazon this holiday season. Merry Christmas!