Because reasons.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve subsisted on a quixotic blend of coffee, wine, and chocolaty carbs, because work has been…well, intense.

But each October, I make my husband a Germanpalooza menu – schnitzel, strudel, Kartoffelnsalat, and soft pretzels. I always throw in a little something extra, though, and it’s ALWAYS these chocolate caramel shortbread bars.

Think Twix, but way, way more delicious. 

Homemade Twix Bars

Adapted from Coastal Living (October 2012), by Julia Dowling Rutland

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 t vanilla extract, divided

2 cups flour

1/4 t kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

Maldon or kosher salt for topping

1/2 cup (4 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Using either a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat butter, gradually adding confectioner’s sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add slowly to sugar-butter mixture. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper, and carefully press the dough onto the parchment until about 1/2″ in height. Bake for 20 minutes and set aside.

While the shortbread is cooling, heat two saucepans on the stove. Combine sugar, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, corn syrup, and butter in one. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 238° (soft ball) on a candy thermometer. Combine remaining 1/2 cup cream and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; carefully pour into sugar mixture. (Mixture will bubble.) Boil until mixture returns to 238°. Pour over shortbread crust. Refrigerate until caramel is firm.

While the caramel is cooling over the shortbread, in the second saucepan, bring the final 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to a boil, and remove from heat. Carefully stir in the bittersweet chocolate until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is thick and glossy. Less cool slightly, and then spread over chilled shortbread and caramel mixture.

Sprinkle with flaky salt once the mixture has set slightly, and then return to the refrigerator. Once the ganache is firm, cut into bars.

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