Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Recipe

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Recipe

We've been using this recipe for years in my home.  It is one of my husband's favorite cookies.  I haven't made them for a while and in the past I only ever used a simple circle cookie cutter.  Now that we are making a lot more cookie cutters, I decided it would be fun to do something different with this recipe.

With Father's Day coming I decided to make some fun moustache faces.  Since the shortbread is covered with chocolate, I wanted to use cookie cutters that didn't need any elaborate decorating and the faces worked perfectly.  Not only do they taste delicious, but my kids had a fun time making different combinations of faces.

Chocolate Caramel Shrotbread Recipe

I'm apparently not very good at taking pictures yet while making cookies.  This is the first time I've ever tried to make a recipe and post it to the internet.  Please forgive me for my lack of experience.  I'll get better at taking photos while I go along.

Starting the shortbread recipe is the easy part.  See the recipe below for more detailed instructions on how to make the shortbread dough.

The recipe calls for softened butter. In normal Renee fashion, I forget to take my butter out to soften, so I put it in the microwave to soften and some it was melted.  It didn't appear to make any different for this particular recipe. Lucky me!!!

Once your shortbread is made you will need to roll it out to 1/4" thickness in order to cut it into shapes. I don't chill my dough, but you can if you think you might have troubles. You can roll it out thinner or thicker, but be sure to adjust cooking time.

Before I roll my dough I always cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of my cookie sheet. This way I can transfer my cut out dough on the parchment paper straight to the cookie sheet without moving my cookies and risk them losing their shape. Then I put my dough down and add another piece of parchment paper on top so my dough doesn't stick to my rolling pin. No additional flour needed.  I do love shortcuts and this makes things soooo much easier.  I only learned this trick recently and am very glad I found it. I also invested in an adjustable rolling pin.  I just got a cheap one from amazon, but it worked great and I loved how much easier it was to roll out my dough.

Dough rolled out between parchment paper

After your dough is rolled out, then comes the cutting. Sometimes my cookie cutters need flour when they have small areas on them, but most of the time they cut fine.

Cutting out cookie dough

Note: If you haven't worked with shortbread before, keep in mind it is much more brittle than regular sugar cookies.  You need to handle them much more carefully because they break easily.

Once the dough is cut, I VERY carefully remove all the excess dough and put the parchment paper directly to the back side of my cookie sheet.

Why the back side? Sometimes the lip of the pan will generate more heat and overcook the cookies next to the lip of the pan. (Truth be told, with larger and small cookies on the same pan, I have that problem any way.  It's always best to put small cookies with small cookies and large cookies with large cookies so cook times will be more accurate.)

Bake your cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Cool cookies

As you can see I still over cooked the tips of my moustaches because they were cooked with larger cookies. At least they still taste good!!

Now comes the tricky part, the caramel. I use Kraft caramels because I can always reheat them in the microwave if the caramel starts thickening up before I'm done applying it to my cookies.  For round cookies, I use to always use just a spoon.  This time I decided to added it to a pastry bag and see what happened. I put a pastry bag in a cup, and poured the melted caramel in.

Caramel in wilton pastry bag

The caramel was VERY HOT.  I had to use a paper towel wrapped around the bag so it didn't hurt my hands.  I did not use a coupler and tip for this because I knew I might need to reheat the bag before I was done.  So I simply snipped a small hole at the tip.  Be careful, the caramel will want to come pouring out. I recommend a very very tiny hole to start and then outline all the cookies.  Once the outline cools a little, cut a larger hole and fill the cookies.  I started filling without an outline and caramel oozed every where.  After I put the caramel on, I had to go back and do A LOT of cleanup on the cookies so the caramel looked like the shape of the cookie.  It was a mess. Lesson learned.....

Let the caramel cool completely.  By the time I was done putting all the caramel on the first several cookies were cool. So no waiting to do the chocolate.

I love dark chocolate and used the Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers. If you want to use milk chocolate or even white chocolate you can, but Dark is definitely my favorite.

I melted my chocolate and also added it to a pastry bag.  It wasn't nearly as hot as my caramel and I didn't need a paper towel to hold it.

Having learned from my caramel oozing issue, I cut a very small hole in my chocolate bag and outlined all the cookies first, then I cut a larger hole and went back and filled the cookies in.  I used a spatula to smooth the chocolate out.

Once your chocolate is added, you can wait for it it cool, or you can immediately start devouring.  Hopefully you love these cookies as much as my family does.

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 Cups butter, softened
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel Layer

  • 16 oz caramel (I use Kraft caramel bits, but your favorite caramel will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk (if you follow melting directions for Kraft caramel bits)

Chocolate Layer

  • 10 oz Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, or mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add vanilla, flour, and salt and mix until well combined.
  3. Drop dough onto parchment paper. Cover dough with another piece of parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough out to 1/4" thickness.
  5. With any cookie cutter you like, cut out cookies.  Remove excess dough.
  6. Place parchment paper onto cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 - 12 minutes until edges just barely start to brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cookies cool completely on racks.
  9. Melt caramel according to package directions. Add caramel to pastry bag.  Cut tiny hole and outline cookies.  Cut larger hole and fill cookies.
  10. Let caramel cool completely.
  11. Melt chocolate according to package directions.  Add chocolate to pastry bag. Cut tiny hole and outline cookies.  Cut larger hole and fill cookies. Use spatula to spread chocolate smooth.
  12. Let chocolate set or pop in the fridge for a quick cooling in order to devour cookies sooner!!