Wholesome Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars + Video
Alrighty people. I present to you my new favorite bar recipe.
No, I'm not exaggerating. I like these wholesome caramel chocolate shortbread bars more than I like brownies or peanut butter bars or blondies. And how could I not, with a name like the one these bars here have?
Caramel? WONDERFUL. Chocolate? AMAZING. Shortbread? IRRESISTIBLE. Bars? ALWAYS GREAT (the food and the venue both).
You know what else is always great? A video tutorial on how to make these wonderful, amazing, irresistible, always great, wholesome caramel chocolate shortbread bars:
Or, watch it on Youtube.
I would just like to note that I was a little impatient and didn't wait for these bars to cool and harden completely. Which is why you'll notice that when I'm slicing the bars, the chocolate cracks and some caramel oozes out. Patience is a virtue I'm still learning, evidently.
Just look at that oozing caramel center and melty chocolate topping in the photo above!!!
Truth is, you're really supposed to store these bars in the fridge so that that oozing, melting situation doesn't happen. These bars were out at room temperature for a while because I was photographing them. Which is why they look kinda messy. (Also, like I said, I didn't let them cool in the freezer long enough because I'm impatient.)
When kept in the fridge, the layers should stay nice and neat and intact and separated. Like that bar I'm holding up exultantly two photos up.
I wasn't kidding about the wholesome part. No gluten. No sugar. No oil. No butter/milk/dairy. Yes vegan.
The bottom layer of each caramel bar is made up of a rich, buttery shortbread crust. But there's no flour or butter or sugar in the shortbread at all. Just almond meal. And coconut oil. And maple syrup. And a pinch of salt.
And the caramel center isn't your average pound of butter, heavy cream, and sugar mixture either. It's made up of almond/cashew butter. And maple syrup. And coconut oil. And vanilla extract. And a pinch of salt.
As for the top layer, the chocolate. Nope, you won't be melting chocolate chips for these shortbread bars. You'll be making your own chocolate. Which is as easy as pie. Kidding, waaaaaaaaay easier than pie. All you gotta do is melt some coconut oil and stir it with cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Chocolate done.
And one more thing - flaky salt. YAS. Sprinkle flaky salt on top of these bars. Because caramel and chocolate paired with flaky salt equals life.
Yep, the layers have lots of repeat ingredients in them. Maple syrup is in the shortbread, caramel, and chocolate layers, for example. Coconut oil is in all three layers too.
Ooh, and salt. Salt in the crust, salt in the filling, and salt sprinkled on top. Yeah buddy.
You know Twix bars? These babies are the copycat version. The wholesome copycat version. I know, just when you thought these bars couldn't get any better.
I do feel obligated to warn you that these Twix copycat bars are addictive. That rich, chewy shortbread crust, that creamy, sweet caramel filling, that velvety chocolate layer on top - you can't stop at one.
But you don't need to. These wholesome caramel chocolate shortbread bars are full of nutritious, fatty goodness that nobody should have to resist.
So, if you eat the whole pan in one sitting, don't say I didn't warn you. I shall not be held accountable.
wholesome caramel chocolate shortbread bars
Yield: about 18 bars
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Flaky salt, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper.
Shortbread Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together almond meal and salt. Mix in maple syrup, then coconut oil. Press dough into thin layer in your prepared pan. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the edges just begin to get golden. Let cool slightly.
Caramel Filling: Place almond/cashew butter into small saucepan over medium flame. Stir till smooth. Add in rest of filling ingredients and stir till mixture is smooth and melted. Pour filling over crust, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Place pan into freezer for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is slightly hardened.
Chocolate: Melt the coconut oil. Stir cocoa powder into oil, then mix in maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour chocolate over filling, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle flaky salt on top if desired. Place pan back into freezer until chocolate is completely hardened.
Slice bars, then store in refrigerator (bars melt at room temperature).
*Note: use refined coconut oil if you don't want any coconut flavor in your bars.