Thousand Dollar Bars

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Yield: One 9" x 13" x 2" pan

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Caramel and chocolate are two of our favorite things here in the test kitchen. Chocolate cake with caramel icing, caramel bites with chocolate chips, we love 'em all.

Want to make heart-shaped bars for Valentine's Day? Rather than cutting in strips, use heart-shaped cutters to cut out hearts of any size you like. Enjoy the scraps as a baker's treat!

Thousand Dollar Bars

star rating (46) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: One 9" x 13" x 2" pan
Published: 09/12/2010

Ingredients

Shortbread layer

Caramel layer

  • 2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate layer

  • 3 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional)

Tips from our bakers

  • For Valentine's day heart-shaped bars, use heart-shaped cutters to cut out hearts of any size you like. Enjoy the scraps as a baker's treat!

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) To make the crust: Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan lightly with cooking spray, or line with parchment, and set aside.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. At first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together as you continue to beat at medium speed.

3) Take the dough (it will be somewhat stiff) and press it evenly into the pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips will help with any sticking.

4) Prick the crust all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape and the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles.

5) Bake the crust until it's lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely.

6) To make the caramel layer: Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.

7) To make the chocolate layer: Melt the milk or dark chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into 2" x 2" squares to serve. It's best to store these bars in the refrigerator.

8) These bars can also be cut and dipped in milk chocolate to resemble Twix ® bars. After the caramel layer has chilled firm, cut down the length of the pan, splitting the bars into two long, narrow bars. Then cut each long strip into "fingers". Dip the chilled bars into melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set for several hours.

Reviews

1 2345  All  
  • star rating 02/11/2015
  • Sue from Barrington, RI
  • This is a firm family favourite. However as a Brit whose been stateside for nearly 15 years they are called millionaires shortbread in the UK. I think you're undervaluing these truly awsome treats.
    Smiles all around for this priceless review, Sue. Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 01/15/2015
  • amymyost from KAF Community
  • Fantastic! This is a homemade twix bar and is about as good as it gets. Lots of steps, but goes together easily. I've even used caramel ice cream topping instead of melting my own, as sometimes I think I overcook the caramel and it ends up being too tough to bite into. The ice cream topping is a little runnier, but still works. This recipe always gets rave reviews. I make as a bar cookie and spread the chocolate on top. I think dipping each bar in chocolate would require too much extra work and mess.
  • star rating 12/15/2014
  • LadyBonBon from KAF Community
  • The caramel layer is perfect - soft enough to chew as it melts in your mouth, but sets well for the chocolate coating. I found that cutting them after applying the layer of caramel and allowing it to set, kept the shortbread from breaking into pieces.Using a large pizza wheel makes it easy to cut through both the shortbread and caramel layers and keep the pieces uniform in size. We found a 64% dark chocolate was a perfect balance of flavors for the caramel and shortbread. I hand dipped three quarters of each piece in the chocolate, finishing with a light sprinkling of toasted almond slices on the top layer of chocolate. Divinely delicious!
  • star rating 09/06/2014
  • cbful from KAF Community
  • I found that cutting these in the pan was difficult. The last time I made them, I removed the cooled crust to a baking sheet and continued with the caramel and chocolate layers. Then I put the finished sheet on my large cutting board to cut into squares. Much easier to do with a large knife. Great recipe. Always get requests for the recipe.
  • star rating 12/23/2013
  • Sonya from San Diego, CA
  • Delicious and reliable! I found myself with THREE recipes for Twix bars (silly me!) and decided to do a recipe taste-test of all three. This was the winner both in taste and regarding the instructions making the most sense. The shortbread is rich and delicious. I made my own caramel. I appreciated the convenience of pouring the chocolate on top of the bars instead of having to dip them (it tastes just as good). These are really decadent. They are so rich that the chocolate rather overpowers the shortbread, which is a pity because it's so good by itself, but at least texturally they are a real treat for the mouth. I made half with milk chocolate and half with dark chocolate, and my husband and I both preferred the milk. It's more true to the original, but it's nice that everyone can modify this to fit their tastes. This is also a fun recipe to practice candy making because you can make your own caramel if you want to, and you can practice tempering chocolate if you want to, but you can also keep it simple and use store-bought caramels and just melt your chocolate in the microwave. Very adaptable, and delicious either way!
  • star rating 12/18/2013
  • Mickayla from South Africa
  • how long would you say I could store these without them going yucky or lost their best quality? a week possibly?
    This recipe should last quite well for 1-2 weeks if kept cool and dry in an air tight container. Jon@KAF
  • star rating 11/13/2013
  • from
  • star rating 11/05/2013
  • Tara from
  • Very good I love them without the chocolate!
  • star rating 06/04/2013
  • ivyv from KAF Community
  • Really good! Made for a party and they were a hit!
  • star rating 04/18/2013
  • Linda from San Jose
  • A bit time consuming to make the layers, but great cookie bar. I've tried dipping the full bar to fully coat in chocolate, but a messy pain, so I just put a single coat of chocolate on top of the caramel; no dipping. Made these for a work party. Won prize and have had numerous requests for the recipe. But the real indication of a good recipe is when the neighbor boy next door tries one of my desserts, and then comes back the next day to ask for more!
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