I am a competitive person by nature. Not sure if it’s growing up with a twin sister and we competed against each other at times, but if there is ever a contest going on that I can remotely participate in, I am all in.
So when my office declared they were having a cookie bakeoff last week, I immediately threw my hat into the ring. Oh, but wait a second. I don’t normally bake! I consider myself more of a cook than a baker, but I thought there had to be a show stopper of a cookie or bar that could possible win one of three top spots – which included bragging rights and a Visa gift card.
What did we do without the internet back in the day? Oh, that’s right, we would talk to our friends and ask them if their Mom’s or Grandma’s had the perfect holiday cookie.
But thanks to the internet, I stumbled across this recipe. It was perfect. Not a lot of baking skill required, and melting caramel and chocolate. I could do that! I did add some notes at the end. I made these treats at home in my 9x9 pan, but decided to cut them at work. On the train ride to work, they got to room temperature, and when I tried to cut into them, the shortbread was a bit crumbly and I didn’t get nice knife cuts. So my advice to you is try to cut these straight from the refrigerator and everyone will ooh and aah at your amazing baking skills.
Homemade Snickers Bars
For the shortbread layer:
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1.25 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel layer:
- 1 (11 ounce) bag of caramels, wrapping removed
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup dry roasted (plain) peanuts
For the chocolate layer:
- 12 ounces good quality milk chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla until crumbled and fully incorporated.
3. Press the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the lined baking dish and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until slightly golden.
4. Remove from the oven and set aside.
5. Place the caramels and the cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in the peanuts and pour the mixture evenly over the shortbread. Use a spoon to distribute the caramel evenly.
6. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
7. In a microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate in increments of 30 seconds, stirring each time, until melted.
8. Pour the chocolate over the caramel and spread evenly.
9. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely before serving, about 2 hours. You can speed up the process by letting it cool in the fridge. Cut into squares and serve! *These cut best when you cut them straight from the refrigerator, then you can leave out at room temperature for serving. Enjoy!
And by the way, out of twenty entries at my office cookie bakeoff – I took second place with these babies! And photo credit goes to my daughter Hannah, who was able to take photos in natural light. Thanks Hannah!
I am thrilled that I am working the Fun ‘n’ Fancy Holiday Cookies class at our Lincoln Square location on Christmas Eve. There are still seats available, and the perfect way to get some cookie baking skills in and have these fanciful cookies and bars to share with family and friends.
We’ll be making chocolate turtle pecan cookies, PB&J Thumbprint cookies, red and green holiday elephant ears, rum balls, and white chocolate gingerbread blondies. Yum!
Be sure to also check out The Chopping Block's new 12 Days of Holiday Cookies recipe download for our staff's favorite cookie recipes.
Do you have a signature family cookie that is your go to? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!