Are you old enough to remember those television commercials back when Hershey was branding the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup—the ones where someone eating a Hershey’s chocolate bar would bump into someone eating peanut butter and the result was a marvelous conglomeration of chocolate and peanut butter and everyone lived happily ever after? That’s what I kept thinking of when I was coming up with this recipe. It seemed like such a perfect marriage: shortbread topped with chocolate and Nutella ganache topped with brown sugar streusel topped with salted caramel sauce. And guess what? It tastes just as amazing as it sounds!
There are a lot of things going on with this recipe but please don’t be intimidated…it’s really easier than it looks. Shortbread is super simple to make and so is chocolate ganache. And you just spread a little of the chocolate on top of the half-baked and still warm shortbread. Plus you have a good bit of ganache leftover for something else.
I love streusel on just about anything. Seriously. If it’s sweet then I figure it can be made better with streusel. I usually don’t add nuts to my streusel but you could certainly do that.
Pop the whole thing back in the oven and bake it a while longer, until the streusel is a nice golden brown. Then you’ll take it out and force yourself to wait, wait, wait until it cools. Then this happens. Caramel sauce drizzled all over the top of the streusel and a little sea salt sprinkled over the caramel. Right about now your taste buds have gone into high gear. They know what’s about to happen and it’s going to be good. Resistance is futile, my friend.
I discovered that this shortbread concoction is actually better the next day, after it’s all cooled and isn’t soft anymore. It was great on day one, but I loved it much more on day two. Although I had no trouble eating way too much on day one. And just so you know, there’s no such thing as day three.
If you don’t want to make homemade caramel sauce, you could absolutely use store-bought and it would be fine. And you can also make the caramel sauce one day, the chocolate ganache another day, and even make the streusel ahead of time. I had a jar of caramel sauce in the refrigerator already, so it didn’t take me too long to put this together. While the shortbread was baking I made the chocolate ganache, which literally takes less than five minutes, and then I made the streusel. So although it sounds time-consuming it’s really not too bad—and trust me, it is totally worth it!
Shortbread with Chocolate Ganache, Streusel, and Salted Caramel
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter for greasing pan
Chocolate Ganache (you can halve this and have plenty for the shortbread)
- 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, diced
- Pinch of salt
Caramel sauce (about 1/2 cup or more if you like more)
- Make the Chocolate Ganache first so it can set while the shortbread is baking. You can also make the ganache a day ahead and store in the refrigerator, just bring to room temperature and whisk before spreading. If you make it ahead and it's too thick to spread you might have to heat it just a little.Make the streusel while the shortbread is baking.
- Place chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Add Nutella and butter to bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan until very warm, not quite boiling but a good simmer.
- Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate and butter are melted and well-blended.
- Preheat oven to 300. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil and butter the foil. Cream butter in mixer on medium for a couple of minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat until almost fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix just until blended. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Dip your fingers in flour and you can spread it without sticking. Place pan in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or up to two days.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until slightly set. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes. Raise oven temperature to 325.
- Gently spread 1/2 cup chocolate ganache over hot shortbread.
- Top with about 1 1/2 cups streusel or more if needed (I didn't measure but made sure the whole top was well covered).
- Place pan back in oven and bake another 25-30 minutes until streusel is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Drizzle caramel sauce over the streusel. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over caramel.
- Shortbread will keep 3-4 days and is actually better the second day.
- Mix flour, salt, and sugars together. Add diced butter and work in with fingers until mixture is soft and crumbly and not sandy at all. You should be able to make buttery clumps.