Caramel and chocolate are two of my favorite treats. As such, these homemade candy bars are truly delectable. Supreme caramel filling sandwiched between a brown sugar shortbread base and a dark chocolate/heavy cream topping with a smack of sea salt flakes. Divine. Absolute perfection. That is, of course, if you like this sort of thing. They remind me of Twix bars, which have long been one of my guilty pleasures in life.
And they're easy to make. You do need a candy thermometer, though. It's important that the caramel reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit, on your stove, before you pour it over your baked crust.
My recipe is inspired by a 2013 recipe from the Portuguese Girl Cooks blog.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
1 tablespoon ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
6 ounces dark chocolate (I used 73% cocoa)
4 tablespoons heavy cream
Maldon sea salt to sprinkle over the top, as you like
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by mixing up the crust. Stir together the dry ingredients, then using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until it resembles somewhat of a sandy mix. Add in the water and egg yolk and form into a ball. Press the dough into a 12" x 8" fluted tart pan with removable bottom. (The removable bottom is key. Makes it so much easier to cut up the bars later.)
Use a fork to poke holes in the dough. This will keep it from puffing up in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Next, make your caramel filling. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all of the ingredients with the exception of the salt. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Attache your candy thermometer to the pan and keep checking and whisking until it reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit. About 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt.
Pour the caramel over the crust and smooth is evenly using an offset spatula. Cool for about 15 minutes before pouring the chocolate glaze over.
To prepare the chocolate glaze, melt your chocolate bar in a double boiler. Whisk in the heavy cream. Spread the melted yummy mixture over your caramel and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt immediately. Then let it cool for about 15 minutes before popping it in the refrigerator. An hour in the fridge will set the chocolate and then you're good to go. I made this late at night, so I just left it in the fridge overnight. In fact, I just store it in the fridge too. It's quite good cold. Plus it makes it easier to cut the bars.
I bought more sweetened condensed milk today. I might have to make these again next weekend, they are that good!