Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chocolate Bar with Shortbread and Salted Caramel & Kale Chips

My chocolate bar with shortbread and salted caramel experiment didn't go exactly as planned. It turned out pretty much as I wanted it to composition and texture-wise, but Jake didn't like the caramel. It seems he only likes cheap caramel, not really good caramel (which he says is what I made). He did say that he sees why I like salted caramel, how it really brings out the flavor of the caramel, so I guess that's something.

I didn't much care for the dark chocolate. Maybe it should have been darker? Smearing the extra shortbread with the salted caramel, however, was delicious. It's a really good thing we don't have any vanilla ice cream in the house to pour it over or I would have eaten all the leftovers. We do have popcorn, though, so I might give that a try.
The kale chips, on the other hand, were really good. I've bought Kale chips at Central Market before and didn't like them at all, but these were a totally different story. Light, crispy and salty. It seems I can't get enough salt this weekend.

Update: I let the chocolate bar with shortbread and salted caramel pieces sit in a container in the fridge for a few hours and tried it again and either it's really grown on me or it's gotten better. Regardless, I won't be taking them up to my office after all. 

Chocolate Bar with Shortbread and Salted Caramel


  • 1 c flour (I use whole wheat myself, but all-purpose is fine, too)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
  • 1 t water
Salted Caramel
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 2 t sea salt (ground or flakes, NOT large crystals)
  • 1 t pure vanilla
  • 8 oz dark chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with silpat and a 9" x 9"* baking dish with plastic wrap; smooth out as best you can.
  2. Add 1 c flour, 1/4 t salt, and 1/4 c powdered sugar to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Add in 1 t vanilla, 1/2 c butter and 1 t of water. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Form the dough into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the fridge. On the silpat shape the dough into a thin (~1/8" thick or less) 9"x 9" square.
  4. Bake until the edges are just light brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring the silpat (with the shortbread still on it) to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  5. Melt 4 oz dark chocolate in a double boiler. Transfer melted chocolate to the prepared 9"x 9" baking dish, distributing evenly, and top with the cooled sheet of shortbread (you may need to trim off the edges of the square for this), set aside.
  6. Heat the 1 1/4 c sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat the sugar evenly. Continue stirring until the sugar has all melted and it is amber in color.
  7. Remove from heat and add the 3/4 c heavy cream (the mixture will splatter and some of it will harden and bubble and that's normal). Return to heat and alternate swirling and stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and everything has dissolved. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and stir in 2 t sea salt. 
  8. Spread a thin layer evenly over the shortbread and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the fridge. (Note: At this point I had to tape the plastic wrap to the pan in several places because they kept drooping.)
  9. Melt remaining 4 oz dark chocolate, allow to cool slightly, then pour over caramel, distributing evenly. Let chill in fridge for 20 minutes or so.
  10. Once the chocolate has started to harden you can press designs into the chocolate if desired.
  11. After the entire mixture has cooled and hardened (about 30 minutes) remove from baking dish and use a sharp knife to cut into small squares or rectangles.
*Note: I used a 7"x 12" baking pan and it turned out fine. Anything similar will work.
Store in the refrigerator for best results.





FitMama's Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 T olive oil or olive oil spray
  • Garlic salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Rinse and dry the kale. 
  3. Remove the leaves from the stems tear or cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, drizzle or spray leaves with olive oil and sprinkle on garlic salt (salt and Parmesan cheese or really any other combinations of spices would work equally well); toss to coat evenly. 
  5. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet covered with foil.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and browned on edges (on the edges only--once the whole leaf gets dark it can taste a bit bitter).
Note: The blogger I got the original recipe from stored her leftovers (in a covered container) at room temperature and they wilted. She said that some blogs have suggested that storing them in the refrigerator might maintain the crispness so I tested both and didn't have a problem either way. I think as long as you let the kale cool to room temperature before storing either way is fine.

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