Carmelicious Shortbread Bars

Layered bars do something to me. I don’t know if it has to do with the pretty colors, taste combinations, complimenting textures, or the fact that I am getting a three for one deal, but I love layered desserts. While perusing some new food galleries out there I came across these Carmelicious Shortbread Bars by Velvet Lava. So after reading her story about making these and knowing that she had some trouble with the recipe, I still forged ahead for some carmelly goodness. Then like her, I found myself mad at these bars and muttering hateful words to my pan of caramel as it quickly separated on me, leaving a puddle of ghee on top. I said things like, “You have got to be kidding me! Separating? Don’t you know, Ms. Caramel that sweetened condensed milk is $3.49 a can, so don’t even think about separating on me. I said, don’t do it. Oh no you don’t. Poo, you had to go and do it.” And my ramblings continued. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to caramel making on a hot day in Virginia. I should have known better. So I pulled that unruly Ms. Caramel off the stove, got out my candy thermometer, fired up the stove again, brought her up to 235 degrees while stirring madly and threw in three magical pinches of baking soda. Cured! Take that. You thought you could take me down.

Although this recipe has three major steps and messes up a few dishes, it was worth it. I cut the recipe in half and made it in an 8×8 pan, only because I only had one can of sweetened condenced milk. Next time I’ll make the whole deal. The shortbread layer was exceptionally crisp and light with an excellent buttery taste. The caramel was perfectly thick, gooey, and creamy with a light caramel flavor. And who could go wrong with a whole Valrhona bar melted on top? Pure heaven. I did not have trouble cutting them, as I just let them “set” while sitting out on the counter which did take a lot of patience. I also put the chocolate right on top of the warm caramel and spread it once it was softened. I shared these bars with a friend who needed a little lift and she loved them on the first bite. This recipe is not for beginners, to say the least, since one never knows when caramel will go wonky. But do be brave and give this one a go, it is worth the maddening dialogue with a pan of caramel. I’ll go there again.

Thanks Velvet Lava for this great recipe, I give you a Standing Ovation!


  1. j*amy
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    mmm those look SO good!!! and so does the potato salad below…

    my mum made the cake in the tiara pan, so i’m not quite sure how she did it…or if it was easy, etc. but, it was tastey for sure!

  2. EAT!
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    I was just looking for a bar cookie recipe this morning. If I can muster up the courage, I’ll be making these.

  3. That Girl
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    That carmel makes my teeth hurt just looking at it!

  4. Paula
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    Wow, my husband would eat an entire tray of these! Great tip about the baking soda when you were adjusting Ms. Caramel!

  5. Robin Sue
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    Paula- I can eat a whole tray of these! The baking soda helps a lot, changes the acidity of the milk.

  6. Beth
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    These look amazing, I can’t wait to try them.

  7. Robin Sue
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Beth- give them a go!

  8. Robin Sue
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    j*amy-thanks glad to hear the cake was good.

    eat!- you are a pro, you can handle these.

    that girl- this is a soft caramel!

    Thanks for all the great comments!

  9. Lisa
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Boy, do these look delicious!

  10. Robin Sue
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Lisa- thanks, I must try your cookies soon.

  11. nicisme
    Posted July 4, 2008 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Oooh, I love this stuff! Nice photos, got that lickability factor!

  12. Robin Sue
    Posted July 4, 2008 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    nicisme- Thanks, they were so yummy!

  13. Nicole
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t had much time to do much more than pop by blogs lately but kept seeing these on yours. They look MORE than amazing. I am a huge caramel fan and yours looks so thick and luscious and yummy!!! I will have to brave it an try it next time I do a dessert.

  14. Robin Sue
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Nicole-welcome back! Yup these bars are great.

  15. Susan Hoffpauir
    Posted July 8, 2012 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    This recipe looks amazing! How do I pull up the actual recipe though. I have tried clicking on the picture and I can’t find the recipe! Thanks!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted July 8, 2012 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

      Click on the link for “carmelicious bars” highlighted in red.

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