Move Over Paula….

caramelappleshortbreadbars1
When I taught 6th grade I always used to show A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (FYI- Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my fellow Canadians) and we would have a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans, and butter toast. To my surprise the thing that the kids could not stop eating was buttered toast. I was in awe. They kept asking me what do you do to your toast to make it taste this way? Keep in mind this was your $.99 a loaf cheap white bread…slathered in butter. Real butter.

Then I realized that the majority of those kids were raised on margarine. Most of my generation even was as we were told how much better it was for us. Of course now we know it’s the other way around.

Those 6th graders knew best. Butter is the best. It’s what makes your steak taste so awesome when you go out to eat compared to when you cook it at home. Say what? Yes your steakhouse steak is basted in butter kids, and that is what makes it oh so better. Mashed potatoes would be nothing without it. Shortbread and sugar cookies need butter. I need butter.

So when Plugra approached me last year and asked if I wanted some of their butter for holiday baking I was all over that. Six pounds of butter (which sounds like a lot but I blew threw it in 2 weeks :D ). Then this year they asked if I wanted to be part of the Plugra Butter Brigade and I was like umm, yeah, no brainer there.

So this is where if you are a baker you will now hate me. First off, if you aren’t hating on me, then you have never baked with Plugra butter. Now I am compensated for making a recipe and posting about it but really, I’m doing that anyway…I am in it for the butter. The butter I get each month…for a year. :D Yes, that’s right butter for a year. Plugra butter. It’s pretty much perfect for me. I also will be hosting a party using the Plugra Gourmet Club recipes…which if you are into food you might want to check that out and start your own gourmet club. See about it here.

If you live in the USA and want to try it for yourself leave a comment and I will pick a winner (random and picked on 10-17-13 at 5pm pst) to be sent 2 free butter coupons for your choice of either Plugra Unsalted or Salted Butter. Simply just tell me what is your favorite recipe to use butter in?

So onto these bars. All things I love. Shortbread full of butter. Check. Apples. Check. Caramel. Check. These were about as spectacular as they sound. Boring to photograph as brown food never smiles for the camera but the taste is wonderful.

PlugraButter

Caramel Apple Shortbread Bars

Ingredients

  • For the shortbread base:
  • 10 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Plugra)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the Apples:
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • For the Caramel Base:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (I used Plugra)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or light corn syrup)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 TBSP. granulated sugar
  • 4 TBSP. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-by-9-inch pan with parchment paper with the edges of the parchment hanging over the sides. This will make removing the bars easier.
  2. In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar and salt with a fork. Add the yolk and combine with the fork. Add the flour and using your hands, combine the dough until its flaky. Transfer the dough into the parchment lined pan and press down with your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup. Refrigerate this for 30 minutes. Once chilled, bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. While the shortbread is baking, place the apples, butter, and sugar in to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until apples become soft.
  4. Once shortbread is baked, remove and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  5. In a large pot combine the topping butter, brown sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, salt, sugar and cream.
  6. Bring to a boil. Stir for about 5-10 minutes until its thick and bubbly. If you have a candy thermometer - the caramel should be about 248 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla bean paste and fold in the cooked apples.
  7. Pour on top of the shortbread.
  8. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Slice while still cold. Keep in the refrigerator.
  9. Adapted from What's Cooking Gabby.com
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Comments

  1. I love butter in almost everything, but it really shines in something like shortbread cookies.

  2. At this time of year, apple crisp, with a lovely crunchy topping FULL of butter. yum! thanks!

  3. Oh man, what isn’t butter awesome in? I love it especially where the taste shines through, as it does in so many things, I’m going to go with a warm, buttery, melty chocolate chip cookie. Yum!

  4. Heather Hadsel says:

    I like to use butter in pie crust!

  5. Katie Rose says:

    All Butter Pie Crust, no crisco for me!

  6. My Great Grandma’s butter cookies. Nothing fancy about them but they are a Christmas tradition. I always use the best butter we have in the house because the flavor comes though.

  7. Dear god those look amazing. I want ALL THE BUTTER!

  8. This is my dream dessert.

  9. stephanie says:

    I love using butter in flaky pastry desserts…the layers melt in your mouth. My mom will love these shortbread bars…thank you!!

  10. I love butter. My husband was a margarine an until he married me. It didn’t last long. My favorite hint with butter I heartbreak so ths recipe is going to be made vey soon.

  11. Looks delicious!

  12. any cookies i have tried margrine but butter tastes sooo much better. especially in butter cookies so yummy

  13. Pecan pralines – using local cream and fantastic butter.
    Or shortbread, because it’s all about the butter.
    butter
    butter
    butter

  14. Oh my god, butter. What don’t I love it in? Seriously, the best thing on the planet is toast with butter. I’m with the kids.

  15. LOVE butter! My girlfriend used to tease me that she was down to 12 lbs of butter, so did I think she should buy more. HELLO! That’s only going to last you a month or two. But that was nothing compared to my brother-in-law finding my freezer full of about 30 lbs. this summer. It was on sale, what can I say?

    My favorite thing to make with butter? Heath Bar Cookies — I adapted the recipe & brown the butter before creaming it with the sugar and eventually rolling the whole thing in crushed Heath Bars. MMmmmmm – getting hungry.

    Thanks for sharing your love of all things delicious with us!

  16. as others have said – what not to use it on? cookies, breads, melting on top of a warm biscuit….. endless possibilities.

  17. What a great way to enjoy some apples!

  18. These look awesome. It amazes me how quickly I can plow through butter when I’m baking. I’ve never tried European butter…I’d love to!

  19. Yum that looks awesome. <3 butter, but have never heard of that kind!

  20. Butter makes everything better – waffles, squash, apples. My husband’s all-time favorite food is buttered toast. Let’s just say we go through A LOT of butter at our house!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. I love butter for baking Christmas cookies. My family’s favorite are Spritz cookies, from a long time ago neighbor of my Mom. My husband’s family favorite are Pepparkakor, a Swedish ginger snap.

  22. I use butter most in buttercream frosting, no crisco, it’s always a hit! Margarine is gross!!

  23. I came across you site today and it’s wonderful. I was looking for something special to use with pumpkin. It was a fun trip to the pumpkin patch, had to get a small one for baking. Then I saw the caramel apple shortbread bars, wow their perfect, thanks. As for butter, it’s all we use now,can’t beat it for baking. My family favorite is my grandmothers recipe for butter tarts. my daughter and I make a lot of these for the holidays and family. The name says it all BUTTER tarts, yum.Dianne

  24. I used to work at a bakery and Plugra is what we used in our recipes and my god are you right about how much better it is. For me the best recipe to use it in has to be croissants.

  25. Butter is better! My mom uses margarine in her pound cakes! :( Boo!

    Other than using it in cakes, a bowl of rice with butter and salt. Comfort food for me! My friends say what do you put in your rice to make it taste so good? Um, just butter and salt!

  26. Love it best in homemade caramel. Oh, and shortbread too!

  27. Butter does sing in shortbread cookies and pie!

  28. I bake with butter. My favorite is shortbread & caramel chocolate bars. I’m also low tech – pI love buttered popcorn.

  29. Real butter all the way!!! These bars look lovely :) I cannot wait to bite into one

  30. I made these last night and let them rest until this morning. I used salted butter and added the salt as well to the caramel. So I have accidental salted caramel apple bars. Still delicious!

  31. I use butter on everything, eggs-through dinner and especially dessert. My favorite though I fresh, homemade bread spread generously with real butter! Oh yum! Even for this sugar loving girl, it would be hard to find something better.

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