Yield: about 20 servings

Ingredients

For the shortbread base: 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping: 

  • 11½ oz. soft caramels (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. milk
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract
  • 2¼ cups sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
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  • step 1: HideShow Images

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed just until combined. Add in the milk and vanilla and blend in briefly. Transfer the dough mixture to the prepared pan and press down into an even layer. Bake about 20-24 minutes, or until the shortbread is just set and light golden brown. Transfer to a  wire rack and let cool completely.

  • step 2: HideShow Images

    Add the chocolate for the cookie base to a small bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread the chocolate in a thin layer onto a piece of parchment over an area measuring around 9 x 9 inches. Remove the shortbread from the baking pan and place on top of the melted chocolate to coat the bottom completely. Using the parchment as a sling, gently return the slab of shortbread to the pan.

  • step 3: HideShow Images

    In a medium bowl, combine the caramels and the milk. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is fully melted and smooth. Stir in the salt, coconut extract and toasted coconut. Transfer the mixture to the pan with the shortbread and spread or press into an even layer. Melt the remaining chopped chocolate and drizzle over the top of the bars. Let set and cool completely before slicing and serving.