When I’m saying ‘I am baking some cookies’, it is really just an alibi to get myself a candy bar-like treat like this one. This recipe will get you the finest candy bar money can buy, so don’t just buy the pre-packed stuff: If you are going to sin, make it worth it.
Start of by baking a shortbread base (this is the ‘cookies’-part), and while it cools, make some caramel and throw it on top with some delicious crunchy nuts. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts…basically, any kind you prefer. They all work terrifically with caramel. If you’re a salted caramel fan, you could use ready-salted nuts, or just throw on some sea salt yourself. Your friends will ‘hate’ you for serving these…if these little sweet devils even make it out of your kitchen.
– 150 g butter (slightly softened)
– 100 g sugar
– 250 g all-purpose flour
– pinch of salt
For the caramel:
– 340 g sugar
– 240 ml cream
– 80 g butter
– and about 200 g of nuts
I wouldn’t dare telling you how many portions these amounts will yield, because it largely depends on a) how much of the ingredients mysteriously disappear from your work space and b) what size you cut the portions.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Line a baking pan or any kind of (deep) oven tray with foil (I used a lasagna pan of about 30×20 cm), and grease it with some melted butter.
- To make the shortbread base, first mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then, add the flour and salt.
- Get the dough in the pan. To make things easier (because it will be sticky), you could use a piece of microwave wrap to press down the dough equally.
- Bake the shortbread base until golden brown. The timing differs greatly depending on how thick you made it and of course also on your oven. I think mine took about 20 minutes.
- While the shortbread cools, heat the sugar in a nonstick saucepan. Let it stand until the bottom layer of sugar begins to melt, and ONLY THEN start stirring, continuing to stir until the sugar has turned light brown in color and smooth in texture. Pour in the cream and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth again, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and stir in the butter. Please RESIST the urge to stick in a finger to have a sneak taste, because you will lose its skin due to the incredible heat of the caramel.
- Throw the nuts on the shortbread, pour the caramel over, and let it all cool for at least two hours, or until it has set. Cutting the bars may be tricky, but can be made easier by keeping the pan in the refridgerator.