Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbreads+Flavor-Blundering

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Have you ever made a flavor-blunder?  Brought two things together that should NOT go to together but maybe could go together if someone very brave [like you] gave it a try? 

I’m sure you have. Every kid tries orange juice on their cereal at least once.

Flavor-blunders are those rare “baptism by fire life experiences” your college advisors were telling you about.  If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll be made stronger. But seriously, look out. You could die. 

I was an early blunderer. I hit the ground running at 9 years old.

It was a Saturday morning at Moe’s Broadway Bagels and I ordered a chocolate chip bagel with garlic cream cheese. The man working behind the counter almost didn’t let me. Said he “didn’t think that was a good idea…” My older siblings were groaning and gagging at me. Tell tale signs of the [very respectable] professionals they would become…

But i was steadfast in my choice. Something about the idea of sweet and salty together in a single bite made me curious. I had to give it a try…

Fun Fact: Chocolate Chip Bagel with Garlic Cream Cheese is one of those things you can just let well enough alone. No need to try it. Don’t. Don’t try it. Thank you goodbye. 

I’m still getting flack for that damn bagel. 

But it was a lesson for my adventuresome palette about balance and sweetness and savory. I like to think that it was a “bold beyond my years” moment. Mostly, i just ruined my breakfast. 

Yesterday, I pulled another “bagel” out of my hat. I had this crazy notion that i could make a Pomegranate Curd, and not only would it be beautiful and jewel colored, but it’d be tart and tangy and fabulous on scones…

*Sigh* 

It did not go well. Pomegranate juice should never be cooked with eggs.

{DUH! What was i thinking in my crazy brain?}

The whole thing looked like a prop from a B-list horror movie. Just.. it was…awful. 

To make up for it, i had to put these in my life:

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Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread
adapted from her

 

No blundering here. These shortbreads are tried and true and reliable. And have been scientifically proven to heal one’s wounded pride. 

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For the shortbread layer:
    • 1 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sugar
For the caramel layer:
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 T. light corn syrup
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate layer:
  • 6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

To make the shortbread layer:
    1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Use a fork and poke holes across the shortbread. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the caramel layer:
    1. Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, continue stiring. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly (If you have a candy thermometer, the caramel is ready when it reads 240 degrees F.) Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set.
To make the chocolate glaze:
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour evenly over the caramel layer and smooth the top. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Place in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. Bars can be kept at room temperature.

Big Love xxoo

M