Recipe: Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars
Of my hundreds of cherished cookbooks, my old school community cookbooks rank at the top of the class. (Bonus points if written by a Southern Junior League!) I love reading these retro tomes for entertainment, but they are often the first place I turn for new recipe inspiration, as well.
Last week I dusted off a particular favorite—Notably Nashville—for a little late night reading. As I paged through it, I was amazed at the number of recipes that sparked my interest, and thus made a mental goal to start utilizing the books more often. (Because I never seem to have enough cooking projects.)
First up? Irish shortbread toffee bars. It was said the recipe came all the way from Ireland, and it had been a Tennessee favorite for over thirty years! If that wasn’t reason enough to make them, they also contained the triple threat: butter (lots and lots of butter), caramel, and chocolate. Consider me sold.
The toffee bars, also referred to as “millionaire bars” (which I found out after the fact), is exactly what you’d expect from an old Southern recipe collection; they were sweet, rich, and oh-so-delicious. Definitely a new classic in my opinion, just like the cookbook they came from.
What about you? Any favorite community cookbooks I should add to my expanding collection?
Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars
For the shortbread:
- 2 sticks
(1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup
- 2 cups
For the toffee and finishing:
- 2 sticks
(1 cup) salted butter
- 1 cup
- 1 (14-ounce) can
sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons
- 1 (10-ounce) bag
good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
Sea salt (optional)
Make the shortbread: Arrange the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low speed until crumbly, making sure not to over-mix the dough.
Transfer to an 8x11-inch baking dish. Bake until light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Place on a wire rack.
Make the toffee: Place the butter, sugar, condensed milk, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring, until thickened and golden brown (but not burned), 5 to 7 minutes. Pour over the shortbread layer. (If you love caramel flavor, use all of the sauce, or use less for a thinner layer.) Let sit until set, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour over the cooled caramel layer and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with sea salt (if using), and cool completely. Cut into 12 pieces before serving.
Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Adapted from Notably Nashville.
Related: Perfectly Portable: Dessert Bars
(Images: Nealey Dozier)