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Desserts

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

If you were dining at the home of an aspiring Los Angeles hostess in 1930, you might have been served smoked salmon appetizers (strips of salmon rolled "around a midget sweet pickle in the form of a calla lily"), followed ... Read more

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours | Makes 48 bars

Shortbread layer

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix the flour and baking powder together and beat into the butter mixture.

Step 3Pat the dough into the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let stand until cool.

Caramel layer

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Step 1Combine the butter, brown sugar, condensed milk and corn syrup in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 238 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour over the shortbread layer. Cool.

Chocolate layer

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 2Heat the chocolate chips in a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water or in a microwave, until melted. Stir to blend. Spread the chocolate over the cooled caramel layer. Sprinkle with the pecans and press them lightly into the chocolate. Let cool before cutting into bars.

Note: From "California Fresh Harvest" by the Oakland-East Bay Junior League (2001).

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