It’s pretty much a given that I package up a batch of sweets with Nick when he returns to college. As a caramel fan like his mother, I knew these Ganache Topped Caramel Bars would put a smile on his face. They sure did!!
Ganache Topped Caramel Bars
I’ve shared the similar Homemade Twix Bars recipe a couple of times which are also known as Millionaire Shortbread and probably have a couple of other aliases as well. All with 3 delectable layers including caramel. So you may not be shocked that I had to bake up these ganache topped caramel bars!
As a preschooler, Nick used to accompany me on my errands, one being a weekly trek to the butcher shop for chops, hamburger and such plus some thinly sliced ham for his sandwiches. He’d get a slice of ham to sample from the proprietor as our ham was being weighed plus there was the requisite trip to the candy jar on the counter for the coveted caramel.
So began his love affair with this confection. One in which his mother was happy to contribute–even now as he’s grown from that tot to a young man.
Tips for Making Caramel
The shortbread crust was a piece of cake, but the first caramel attempt was a bit of a disaster. I have made desserts with homemade caramel from scratch as well as those using melted pre-made caramel candies. This caramel called for sweetened condensed milk and I thought it would be a no-brainer.
I cooked the mixture and watched it boil and eventually grow a little darker to an amber shade. But when I removed the molten sugar mixture from the stovetop, the butter had separated and the caramel was far from a smooth consistency. Flop. So I tried again, reducing the amount of butter and using a candy thermometer so I could pull the caramel off the heat at the perfect time. Success. Whew.
So you may also need a few tips to ensure your caramel layer is perfect!
- All caramel recipes are different. Some are sweetened with white sugar, others with brown. This is the first I’ve encountered with sweetened condensed milk, which is a substitute for the typical heavy cream and part of the sugar.
- To start this recipe, all ingredients are whisked together in a saucepan. This is also not typical of caramel recipes!
- For the best caramel consistency, not too hard nor too soft, a candy thermometer is imperative.
- Whisk constantly so the mixture does not burn. Watch for the caramel to darken to a “caramel” color which should occur around 225 degrees, approximately 6 minutes into the cooking process. Pour over the crust when your caramel reaches temperature.
- Since these most likely will be stored in the refrigerator, you’ll want to cut them with a hot knife. I run a knife under very hot water and dry it off before slicing. The heat helps the knife glide through the chocolate and caramel.
- PRO Tip: Remember this caramel mixture is extremely hot, so use caution when mixing, pouring and spreading so you don’t get burned.
More Bar Cookies Recipes
- Classic Baklava
- Best Lemon Bars
- Blackberry Cheesecake Bars
- Raspberry Crumb Bars
- Homemade Reese’s Bars
- Blueberry Streusel Bars
- More Yummy Bar Cookies
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup Imperial Sugar, our lovely Gold Sponsor
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon-sized cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Pulse flour and sugar in a food processor to mix. Add butter and pulse till the butter is the size of small peas. Add the yolks and pulse till dough comes together. Pat into a greased or non-stick foil lined 9 x 13 pan. Bake till edges are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Let cool while preparing caramel.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together all caramel ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often till mixture comes to a boil. Clip candy thermometer to the pan and continue whisking and cooking till caramel reaches 225º. Pour caramel over crust and let cool till caramel is set.
- Make ganache by combining chocolate, cream and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat gently, stopping and stirring till chocolate is almost melted. Let rest for a couple minutes, then stir till smooth. Spread over caramel layer and chill for at least an hour before cutting. Store bars in refrigerator.