Prep and Cook Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time.
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 egg plus one egg yolk
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
12 ounces sliced almonds
1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped
1/2 cup tart dried apricots (we prefer Blenheim), finely chopped
1/2 cup tart dried cherries, finely chopped
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream salted butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk and beat to combine. Gradually add flour and mix well (dough will be very soft). Transfer to a floured 16- by 11-in. parchment paper. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to same size as parchment. Trim any overhang, then transfer dough (on parchment) to a large rimmed baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on) and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together unsalted butter, remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, honey, and cream. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it registers 250° on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat and stir in almonds, raisins, apricots, and cherries.
Using a spatula, gently spread warm topping over shortbread. Bake until topping is caramelized and almonds are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; while still warm, cut into 2-in. squares. Cool completely.
Good gluten-free alternative...I've been making this recipe ever since I saw it published a couple years ago. But since then, I learned I was gluten-intolerant. This weekend was a dear friend's goodbye party and these have been her favorites since I started making them. She is also gluten-intolerant now...so I decided to try it GF. I ended up cheating a little and buying the Bob's Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix, and then did the topping as usual. They came out brilliantly.
Made this for Xmas gifts, and they went over with a bang. The crust is buttery, the top chewy, and everyone asked for the recipe. I used cranberries instead of apricots, and added a pinch of kosher salt to the caramel (I don't use salted butter). I also added a tsp. or so of pastry extract (Princess extract) to the shortbread. My shortbread was about 1/2" thick in a 9x14 jelly roll stonewear pan, so I had to cook it almost twice as long and it never got golden as expected. I also cut the bars while still hot, so the still-liquid caramel oozed between the sides and underneath. A keeper!