Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

I have no idea where I found this recipe for chocolate caramel shortbread bars, but I knew I'd have to make a variation of it from the moment I saw it.

Mine were made in a 10 ½" springform pan, lightly greased for easy removal. I used the provided shortbread recipe, but with icing sugar (rather than granulated) because I have icing sugar to use up. I also substituted vegan margarine in place of the butter. Likewise, the chocolate topping recipe was followed almost exactly, with vegan margarine again and agave syrup rather than corn syrup. I had to break drastically from the linked recipe's caramel component because of the high amount of dairy in it. I was inspired by a recipe I found for vegan dulce de leche. My version follows:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda (to prevent curdling)
  • salt, to taste

Combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepan, stir. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to gently bubble, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 2 hours. These steps make the vegan dulce de leche.

To make the caramel topping, heat the dulce de leche to "soft ball stage" (although I see I ought to have gone to firm ball stage) and pour over the cooled shortbread. When that has cooled fully, pour the chocolate topping over that, smooth it out, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the fridge to chill. Kara and I got to these before they were fully set, but they were too tantalizing to pass up.

As for the results, the caramel and chocolate were so good, but I confess that I would have liked a shortbread base which was less crumbly and more like a familiar candy bar with similar ingredients. Next time, I think I'll try adapting the shortbread recipe from this knock-off recipe.

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