What’s there to do on a rainy Hawaii afternoon except take a long luxurious snooze…and bake up something delicious and full of butter, chocolate, and salted caramel?
I’m not much of a sweets person, but when it comes to sweet treats, I am an absolute sucker for anything that brings a little salt and savory into the mix. The buttery shortbread layered with the super sweet caramel topped with chocolate and sea salt just touches all the right taste buds for me! To seal the deal, I sprinkled a little bit of local flaky sea salt over the top.
You can buy flaky sea salt in your spice section, but since salt water isn’t exactly rare around here and local companies pull it fresh from the sea, for relatively cheap, you can walk off with a bag of it. Which, naturally, I did.
For the shortbread layer:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the caramel layer:
- 1 14-oz can sweet condensed milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the chocolate layer:
- 12 oz milk chocolate chips
Finish with flaky sea salt.
How to make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Butter a 9×9 inch square pan, and then give it a light coating of flour. This is an essential trick to prevent sticking, and I’m kicking myself for not trying it on other baked dishes.
3. Cut the butter up into small pieces. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl, and then use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mix, until it starts forming a pebbly texture. If the pastry cutter isn’t making headway with the mixture, you can press it around with a fork.
4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake it for about 20 minutes. Then take it out of the oven and let it cool while you’re prepping the caramel layer. Oh, and turn the oven off. You’re done baking.
5. This right here is all you need to make your own caramel if you don’t have a jar of it at home. Heat up a large sauce pan and combine the milk and butter in the pan, stirring it constantly. If you don’t stir it, chunks can stick to the bottom and burn. Let it boil, but keep on stirring until the mixture turns a lovely pale toffee color. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes. And right now, you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t just go buy a jar of caramel. Go ahead – it’ll still be yummy.
6. Spread the caramel layer over the shortbread layer evenly, and let that cool as well while you’re making the chocolate layer.
7. This is the easiest part. If you have a double-boiler, great, but if you don’t, heat water to a simmer in a small sauce pan and stick a pyrex bowl on top of it with the chocolate chips in it. Stir them lightly with a spatula as the chocolate chips melt. Voila – easy melted chocolate and no fancy equipment required.
8. Spread the chocolate over the cooled caramel layer.
9. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the surface of the chocolate, both for garnish and for an extra spark of taste.
10. Let everything cool for 5-10 minutes and then set the pan in the refrigerator to let it cool completely. I came back and cut them after about an hour and they came out tasting pretty fantastic!
Serve and enjoy. These go absolutely great with a cup of coffee or with a little pour of dessert port.