They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.
So… maybe I should just leave this picture here to speak for itself and be done with this blog post. Just let you scroll down for the recipe.
Because, I mean, look at that.
That soft and buttery shortbread crust.
That rich, semi-sweet chocolate layer.
And that sweet, sweet candy praline coating on top.
Not to mention the sea salt topping! I hope you’re not like me… I hope you haven’t spent your whole life shying away from salted desserts because it sounded “weird”.
No, that salt MAKES these bars. I mean, OK, honestly I’m sure that they would still be pretty darn fantastic without it, but truly, a generous sprinkling of healthy-sized sea salt granules really helps to bring out the sweetness and the flavor of these praline bars. Do NOT forget the sea salt (like I almost did after I poured the praline layer on…what a moment of panic).
Need I say more?
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (3 sticks softened)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- Praline Layer
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cover a 13x9 baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil with butter.
- In mixer, cream together butter and granulated sugar.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Add vanilla.
- Gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) stir in flour. Stir in salt halfway through the addition of flour.
- Spread dough into 13x9 pan, pressing down with the back-end of a spoon to create a flat, even layer of shortbread.
- Bake in oven at 350F for 23-25 minutes (until edges just begin to turn golden brown).
- Allow bars to cool for just 1 minute and then sprinkle 2 cups of chocolate chips over the shortbread. Allow the chocolate chips to melt for about 3-4 minutes, and then spread evenly over the shortbread using a knife.
- Praline layer
- While the shortbread/chocolate cool, prepare your praline layer. Pralines are a type of candy, and making candy can be tricky so it is best to make sure you have everything prepared before beginning. Before you start, cut your 1/2 stick butter into quarter-inch sized cubes, chop your pecans (if they are not already chopped. I chopped mine into pieces each about the size of an M&M), and measure out your vanilla extract. Set these aside, you will need them easily accessible once your candy is ready.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk. Stir occasionally (do not leave the candy during this time, stir at least once a minute) until candy reaches 238F using a candy thermometer.
- Once candy reaches 238F, remove from heat and add in butter but DO NOT stir. Allow the butter to sit and melt in the praline mixture for about 1 minute and then add vanilla and pecans and stir continuously until mixture becomes lighter in color and a bit more stiff (you must also be cautious of over-mixing).
- Once the praline mixture is able to hold its shape (I usually test this by dropping a small amount on a piece of wax paper and assessing whether it spreads too much or holds its shape), immediately pour over the chocolate/shortbread.
- Immediately sprinkle sea salt all over the praline layer so that it sticks to the surface while it is hot.
- Allow bars to sit undisturbed for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.