These cookie bars are messy, gooey, lick-the-caramel-and-crumbs-off-your-fingers-and-the-plate-because-you-don’t-want-any-of-it-to-go-to-waste, kind of good.
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- One 13-oz can dulce de leche
- 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
- 2 & 1/2 cups almond granola without dried fruit, preferably this simple homemade version
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 or 9-inch square baking dish with foil, making sure the piece of foil is large enough to come up and over the sides by an inch or so. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
MAKE THE SHORTBREAD LAYER:
- Add the flour, brown sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times just to combine. Scatter the butter over the top of the mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until it looks like coarse meal.
- Remove the lid from the food processor and drizzle the egg yolk over the surface of the mixture. Put the lid back on and pulse another 3 or 4 times to incorporate. Be careful to not over process the dough.
- Dump the mixture out into the foil lined baking dish and press it down to cover the bottom. Cover the surface of the shortbread with a piece of plastic wrap, and use a spatula to pack it down into the pan, pressing the spatula with the heel of your hand to pack it in tightly.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and let cool completely.
ADD THE DULCE DE LECHE AND GRANOLA LAYERS:
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Scoop the dulce de leche into a bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power, stopping to stir every 30 seconds.
- Scatter 1 & 1/2 cups of the granola over the top of the shortbread crust. Drizzle the dulce de leche over the granola to cover. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, until the dulce de leche is bubbling slightly around the edges of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack. If using, sprinkle 1/8 tsp salt over the hot dulce de leche. Immediately scatter the remaining 1 cup of granola over the dulce de leche. Using a spatula, gently press the granola into the dulce de leche.
- Let cool completely, then slice into 9 bars. (NOTE: Placing the pan in the refrigerator for an hour or two after the bars have cooled to room temperature makes them a bit easier to cut.)
Keywords: cookies, cookie bars, shortbread, dulce de Leche, caramel, snack, after school snack, lunchbox