Soft buttery shortbread, homemade salted caramel, rich egg-free cookie dough and dark chocolate. Did you ever see anything so beautiful?
Okay, seriously. These Cookie Dough Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread squares may well be THE most delicious thing I’ve EVER made!
They’re a little like my Creme Egg Chocolate Caramel Shortbread squares (I know you guys loved those!) but more cookie dough-alicious. Instead of regular caramel, I’ve gone with extra indulgent, homemade salted caramel which works oh so well with the creamy cookie dough layer on top. I mean, it’s AMAZING.
Making these gorgeous squares involves a few steps – none of them are difficult at all. and most are really quick. The shortbread layer – just butter, sugar, flour and vanilla – is mixed up in a moment, then pressed into the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch pan and baked. Bake the shortbread until it’s just starting to become very slightly browned – it is cooked, and it will set as it cools, but taking it out of the oven at this stage will ensure it keeps the lovely crumbly texture.
The salted caramel layer is the most time-intensive part of making these squares. We need it to be really thick so that is slices up tidily and doesn’t ooze out everywhere. The caramel is made from melted butter, sugar and condensed milk (plus salt) which we’ll cook for 30-45 minutes until it gets really thick – see this video for how thick mine was (this is when it was still warm – it thickens up more more as it cools).
You need to keep cooking it on a low heat (though it will be bubbling away), stirring constantly until it is the consistency of thick gravy. Then, pour immediately into a heatproof bowl – as it cools it will become even thicker. It will take around an hour in the fridge to cool completely – or pop into the freezer if you’re on a deadline.
The cookie dough layer is so easy and quick to whip up too (although knowing how easy it is is INCREDIBLY dangerous knowledge to posess, believe me!). Just mix up butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, chocolate chips and flour. It’s SO good!
Just a little tip here – don’t even think about the calories involved in these bars…. Just enjoy!
- 150g / 5.3 ounces / 1 stick plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 50g / 1.7 ounces / 1/4 cup golden caster sugar
- 160g / 5.6 ounces / 1 1/3 cups plain flour
- 1 397g can condensed milk (normal sized can)
- 150g / 5.3 ounces / 1 stick plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 150g / 5.3 ounces / 3/4 cup golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 150g unsalted butter
- 100g light brown sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 150g chocolate chunks
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2-3 tbsp whole milk
- 200g plain flour
- 100g / 3.5 ounces / 1/2 cup milk chocolate
- 200g / 7 ounces / 1 cup plain chocolate
- Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4/350F and prepare a square or rectangular tin that's roughly 9 inch square (if you use a smaller tin, your Shortbread will just be thicker).
- To make your shortbread base, combine the very soft butter with the sugar, and then mix in the flour until you have a delicious mess. Pop into your tin, and work into the corners with the back of a wet spoon (it's sticky!). Prick with a fork all over, and bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on oven shelf - mine was on the middle shelf) or until very lightly golden brown (see photo in post).
- Remove and leave to cool COMPLETELY before you add the caramel layer.
- To make your caramel, first melt the butter in the microwave, then combine the condensed milk, butter and sugar together in a saucepan over a very low heat. Stir constantly and increase the heat to medium-low - small bubbles will appear. Continue to stir constantly, reducing heat if bubbles become any more vigorous. Continue to stir and cook for 25-35 minutes, until it's turned from a light yellow to a deep tan gold colour. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat proof bowl, then let cool in the fridge or freezer. Once cool, pour it onto your shortbread layer.
- Combine the butter (it needs to be very soft) with the two types of sugar and then stir in the vanilla bean paste. Add the chopped up chocolate chunks and milk, and then stir in the flour. Add a touch more milk if it seems to be a bit dry.
- Spread the cookie dough on top of the caramel layer, and then return everything to the fridge.
- Simply break your two bars of chocolate into chunks and pop into a microwave proof bowl. Heat on 30 second intervals until soft, not forgetting to remove and stir after every 30 seconds. Be careful - the bowl may get very hot! When it's almost melted, remove from the microwave as the residual heat will continue to melt the chocolate.
- Pour over the cookie dough layer, using the back of a spoon to spread into the corners.