Here's the recipe I used for the shortbread above. Hope you enjoy.
1. 9 Ounces (2 Sticks plus 2 Tablespoons) of Unsalted Butter, at room temperature.
2. ½ cup White Sugar
3. ¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar.
4. ¾ teaspoon Kosher Salt.
5. 1 and ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6. 1 and ¾ cup All-purpose Flour.
7. ½ Cup Cornstarch
8. 1 heaping cup of Pecan Halves
1. Turn Oven to 300 degrees F, and spread Pecans over a baking sheet.
2. Toast for five minutes. Check them, and if you want them more toasted, bake for another few minutes, checking every minute. (NOTE: Nuts burn easily, so make sure you are careful).
3. Chop up Pecans coarsely.
4. Combine both sugars, Salt, and Butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a normal bowl). Mix on Medium-low speed until just combined, 1-2 minutes. Add Vanilla and mix until just combined.
5. Pour in flour and cornstarch and mix just until a dough has formed.
6. Mix in toasted pecans just until combined. (NOTE: Consider doing this by hand in order to avoid overmixing.)
7. Take a baking sheet (NOTE: Make sure the sheet has relatively high sides in order to take in the caramel and chocolate, consider sides 1-2 inches high), and line it with parchment paper (or spray it with non stick spray, but parchment will make later steps easier).
8. Turn oven to 350 degrees F, and bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until lightly brown.
9. Let cool completely.
Here’s the hard part.
1. 3 Cups of Granulated Sugar.
2. ½ A cup of water.
3. 1 Cup of Heavy Cream,
4. 3 and ½ sticks of SALTED butter, cut into cubes and chilled.
1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, pour one cup of sugar, and all of the water. Over medium heat, stir until the sugar is completely melted.
2. Once completely melted, gradually pour in the remaining sugar, stirring until it is all melted and become a bubbling syrup.
3. Turn heat to low-medium low, and continue to stir. (NOTE: This is very important to remember, eventually the sugar will lose so much moisture that it appears to return to the state of granular sugar. This is SUPPOSED to happen! You have not screwed up! This caramel must essentially melt twice!) (You may want to consider using a pastry brush to brush some water on the sides of the pan in order to dissolve some of the sugar that builds up on the sides. This is not necessary, but without it, the pan WILL need a good deal of soaking in soapy water when it’s time to clean up.)
4. After it has clumped up and re-melted into a dark amber liquid, begin to slowly pour the heavy cream in, stirring as you go.
5. Once the cream is fully in, take the pan off the heat. Stir in all the butter at once, until fully melted. (NOTE: If you want a thicker caramel, consider cooking for a bit more, perhaps 1 minute, without stirring)
6. At this point, you have two options, process the caramel with an immersion blender until completely smooth, or just use a wooden spoon, though this will take longer.
7. Pour caramel into a bowl, and cover in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill until smooth and firm. You may have to stir the caramel some while there.(NOTE: When I did this, there was a layer of liquid on top of the caramel. This is not a problem, just whisk it well, and it will start looking like real caramel.)
1. 1 TO 2 CUPS of Chocolate chips.
2. Flaky/Coarse Sea Salt (optional)
3. Cocoa nibs (optional)
1. Place chips in a microwave proof bowl, and heat in the microwave on thirty second intervals. Stirring after each interval, until completely melted and smooth.
1. Take shortbread in pan, and place in work area.
2. Pour caramel into the middle of the shortbread (this is why the parchment is better, it will keep the toppings and fillings from pouring out, this is also why a higher sided pan is better.)
3. Spread the caramel out, edge to edge. (optional, you may put the filled shortbread in the fridge to firm up a bit if you wish)
4. Pour melted chocolate over the top of the caramel, spread edge to edge.
5. Let chill for ten to twenty minutes, and then sprinkle optional ingredients on top.
6. Chill til firm, and serve.