Caramel Shortbread Recipe: Crisp and decadent caramel stuffed shortbread sandwich cookies, made from the perfect butter cut-out cookie recipe!
Oh cookies, why do you have to be so good?!
Every year I determine not to make a many Christmas cookies as I did the year before. And every year, I get started and fail miserably.
Once I start baking (and taste-testing) the excitement and sugar rush take over. It doesn’t help that my kids are right there beside me, egging on the euphoric cookie escapade.
They are bad influences.
This year, I’ve decided to only make shortbread cookies. Or at least cookies that fall under the categories of sugar cookies, butter cookies, and cut-out cookies, which all have a similar base.
Will I be able to hold to my resolve? Probably not.
However, when I made this Caramel Shortbread Recipe I felt no other cookie could possibly stand up to its crumbly buttery texture and the rich lure of creamy caramel.
I think I could live off of them… And maybe a few vegetables for good measure.
What Is The Difference Between A Sugar Cookie And A Shortbread Cookie?
Although both types of cookies are sweet and buttery, there is a big difference.
- Sugar cookies generally include way more ingredients than shortbread recipes.
- First and foremost, sugar cookies contain eggs, which make them soft and fluffy. While real shortbread recipes never involve eggs. The lack of said ingredient gives shortbread cookies a dense crisp texture.
- Shortbread is meant to crack, snap, or even crumble when you try to bend it. Yet sugar cookies should be moist enough to bend a little before breaking.
- True sugar cookies do not make the best cut-out cookies because of their soft texture. You can still frost them, but they do not hold a tight shape with rolled and cut.
- However shortbread cookies are fantastic for rolling and cutting, so they make a marvelous decorating cookie.
That being said, with today’s Caramel Shortbread Recipe we are making cut-out sandwich cookies.
What Is The Difference Between Butter Cookies And Shortbread Cookies?
Ok, now this is where it gets a little tricky… Butter cookies and shortbread can be the same thing, but are not always the same.
Origins: Shortbread biscuits originated in Scotland, while butter cookies are decidedly Danish.
Both are crisp crumbly cookies made from a very simple blend of fat, sugar, and flour.
However, the most traditional shortbread recipes are made with either shortening, or a combination of shortening and butter. Butter cookies are always made with butter only…. Yet, modern shortbread recipes are often made with just butter, like butter cookies.
This creates the luxurious buttery flavor that all butter cookies, and most shortbread offer.
Shortbread sometimes contain more flour than butter cookies, making them slightly more dense… But not always.
Caramel Shortbread Recipe Ingredients
These luxurious caramel stuffed shortbread cookies require only six ingredients, including the filling!
- Butter – To provide a rich flavor and crunchy texture.
- Sugar – For sweetness and also for texture.
- Flour – Because there’s no better base ingredient for traditional cookies.
- Vanilla Extract – This adds a little underlying intrigue.
- Salt – Because salt and caramel are like peas and carrots.
- Dulce de Leche – Thick canned caramel that is fabulous for cookie filling.
How To Make Buttery Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Caramel Filling
- Cream the butter – It’s extremely important with all baking recipes that include softened butter, to cream the butter with the sugar. This means you beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until the sugar crystals start to break down, creating a light fluffy texture. Don’t ever skip this step! It makes a huge difference between ok baked goods, and exceptional baked goods.
- Blend in the flour – Once the butter and sugar are properly creamed, mix in the flour. Turn off the mixer the moment it is smooth, so the dough doesn’t get tough.
- Roll and Cut – For a delicate crisp texture, try to roll and cut out all the cookies in one round. The more you gather and roll out the dough, the tougher it gets.
- Bake – Bake until the edges are just barely golden.
- Fill – Now turn half of the cookies over and pipe thick caramel on them. Then top them with a second cookie.
Get The Full Caramel Shortbread Recipe & Video Tutorial Below
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Caramel Shortbread Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat on high until very light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and beat again to make sure the mixture is very smooth. Then turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the flour. Once fully combined, turn off the mixer, as to not over mix the dough.
Flour a work surface and roll the dough out evenly, 1/8 inch thick. Use a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Move them to the cookie sheet using a flat metal spatula. Try to cut as many cookies as possible in the first batch, because each time you roll out the dough the cookies will be a little tougher in texture.
Gather the remaining dough and roll it back out. Cut out as many cookies as possible in the seconds batch. Spread the cookies out on the baking sheets an inch a apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are light gold. Cool completely. Then flip half the cookies over.
Once the cookies are cool, scoop the dulce de leche into a large freezer bag. Snip one corner with scissor to create a piping bag. Pipe a teaspoon of caramel onto the cookies with the bottom-side-up. Press another cookie on top of the caramel to create cookie sandwiches.
Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.