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Shortbread Caramel Brownie Bars

Total time 2 hrs
Yield Makes 24 bars
This treat combines several of your favorite things. It starts with a layer of shortbread, which is topped with a layer of caramel, and then it ends with a layer of gooey brownies.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 ounces individually wrapped soft caramels, such as Kraft
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 10 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 322
  • caloriesfromfat 50 %
  • protein 3.8 g
  • fat 18 g
  • satfat 10 g
  • carbohydrate 39 g
  • fiber 0.6 g
  • sodium 200 mg
  • cholesterol 58 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cut 1 cup butter into chunks. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and the butter chunks. Whirl until dough comes together. Press evenly into a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake in a 325° oven until top feels dry and is just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

  2. Meanwhile, unwrap caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl with milk. Cook in a microwave oven on full power (100%) for 1 minute. Stir mixture, then cook and stir at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth, about 3 minutes longer. Spread caramel mixture evenly over cooled crust and chill until firm, about 20 minutes.

  3. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), stir chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup butter often until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and, with a whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended.

  4. Pour chocolate mixture over caramel layer and use a knife or spatula to spread level, completely covering caramel.

  5. Bake in a 350° oven until a wooden skewer inserted into the chocolate layer comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into 24 bars.

  6. Note: Nutritional analysis is per bar.