The Perfect Bite: Caramel Shortbread Squares

Let’s just say this post has been a long time coming; this is definitely a favorite in my immense arsenal of dessert recipes. If there’s one thing to make when you want to impress, perhaps before asking for a big favor, it’s these irresistible bites of thick and gooey caramel sandwiched between buttery, crumbly shortbread and velvety chocolate. I like to use dark chocolate to help balance out the sweetness of the caramel, and if you’re feelin’ fancy, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top won’t hurt one bit.

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Find the recipe for caramel shortbread squares here. Enjoy!

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Deconstructed Caramel Apple Pie à la Mode

What to serve for dessert for a special weekday dinner? Something that can be made ahead of time? Very helpful, yes. Something a little different but still perfect for fall? Yup, sounds good. Something smothered in buttery crumbs and covered in caramel? Umm… you’re kidding me, right?

There’s apple pie. There’s caramel apple pie. There’s caramel apple pie with ice cream. And then there’s this– deconstructed caramel apple pie à la mode, which is the very best of all of the above. Your favorite vanilla ice cream (extra credit if you make it yourself!), homemade pie crumbles, and a luscious caramel made from an apple cider reduction. So. Good.

Deconstructed Caramel Apple Pie à la Mode
(Courtesy of The Kitchn)
Makes 6-8 servings

For the apple cider caramel:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup apple cider – reduced to 1/4 cup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp butter, cubed

For the crumb crust:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
5 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To make the caramel sauce:
In a saucepan over medium-high heat reduce the apple cider to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a heavy saucepan combine sugar, honey and water. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is amber in color (about 15 minutes.) While the caramel is cooking, use a pastry brush soaked in water to occasionally wipe any sugar off the sides of the pot.

In the meantime, whisk together the heavy cream, cooled cider, vanilla, spices and salt in a small bowl.

When the caramel is amber, remove from heat and whisk in butter cubes, taking care as the caramel may bubble up. Whisk in cream mixture to combine. Return the caramel to low heat and cook an additional 5 minutes until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof glass jar. Cool completely and store in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the crumble crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to blend in butter, working until large clumps form.

Spread mixture on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes until the mixture is golden brown. Cool completely.

To serve:
Scoop out your favorite à la mode flavor, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with crumb crust. Enjoy!