King Arthur Flour has become one my favorite bread flour. I get a much better crumb when I use their flour as opposed to say, Sam’s Club or Costco, which is much cheaper. But when I started using KA Flour, I knew so little about them. I didn’t know they had a whole repertoire of recipes! However, I hadn’t tried any until I saw this recipe. They call them “Thousand Dollar Bars“. Others call them “Twix look-a-likes”. Whatever you call them, they are evil. Why evil? Because you can’t stop eating them. That good. And yet, so simple! Just shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. These are such a good example of why simple can be so delectable. The hardest part is waiting for each layer to cool.
First, you make the shortbread:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups AP Flour
1) Preheat oven to 300F. Prep a 9×13 pan (or 8×8 if doing half the recipe) with cooking spray and then line with parchment. Leave overhang so you can take them out of the pan easily. This will make for easy cutting later.
2) Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour. Dough will seem stiff at first, but be patient! It will come together.
3) Press into a pan. If you have a small roller, that will help even it. Take a fork and poke holes to prevent bubbles.
4) Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the caramel. The KA recipe suggests melting pre-made caramel, but if you have 30 minutes, make your own! Much cheaper and so tasty. I also used the KA recipe for caramel:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Place all ingredients in heavy pan and bring to 235F. Obviously you will need a thermometer here. However, if you don’t have one you can check for “softball” stage. This is when you take a small sample, stick it in ice water and if it is ready it will form a ball. If not, you aren’t ready. Watch carefully though because you can burn quickly at this point. When it is done, pour over the shortbread and chill for about 30 minutes or until set. You will not use all the caramel. Any extra just pour onto a sheet pan and (spray or line with parchment first) and let set.
And finally, my favorite part, the chocolate. This part is easy, just melt 3 cups of chocolate over a double boiler and pour over the caramel. I used Guittard 52%, but milk would be tasty too! You can chill for a short time, but sometimes when chocolate is chilled it can take on an unpleasant appearance. It will still taste ok, but doesn’t look as pretty. Thus, just chill briefly then return to room temp. Cut into bars and enjoy!