It’s before sunrise and birds are chirping loudly. The temperature is already warm enough to have the back door open. I’m sitting and listening to various bird songs. Summer is right around the corner. April brought its showers. May is drying everything up. A few people are predicting hot, dry months ahead. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I’ll try to keep myself from eating Caramel Shortbread Cookie Strips for a pre-breakfast snack. They have been relentlessly calling out to me.
Shortbread is hard for me to resist. There’s something about the buttery, crumbly, denseness to it. I’ll take it plain, chocolate, nutty, topped with fruit, or, in this case, topped with caramel. Well, dulce de leche to be exact. Some argue it is not official caramel because caramel is made with sugar and cream. Dulce de leche is made from sweetened condensed milk. However it says caramel on the can and it tastes like caramel so that’s good enough for me.
You can make your own dulce de leche. I’ve done it both ways; boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk in water on the stove and also in the slow-cooker. Both work fine. The slow-cooker method is easier. What I found is I’d rather get a can of it. In the end it is the same thing: slowly cooked sweetened condensed milk. I’m happy to let some company do all the work.
One note on slicing the strips: The dulce de leche will stick to the knife. I used a spatula to scrape it off the sides about every third slice. Also, do not wait until they are completely cooled to slice. They need to have a little softness while warm or else they will break into pieces.
About the name of these cookies. Why didn’t I call them Dulce de Leche Shortbread Cookie Strips? It’s because caramel is more widely identified. Give someone one of these cookies and I’m certain they would call it caramel. For the strips part, it was my way of describing their shape. They are not wide enough to be bars and they are not wedges like some shortbread (see lavender poppy seed shortbread).
Do you enjoy caramel? It’s the theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange. Scroll down to find a list of cookies baked for the theme. There is quite a variety. Recipes are only a click away. I’ll be checking them out for sure.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dulce de leche
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and beat until just combined. Dough will be slightly crumbly.
- Divide dough into 4 equal portions and press each together. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to a log 12 inches long.
- Place logs on 2 ungreased cookie sheets (2 logs per sheet about 3 inches apart). Use your finger to to make an indention in the top of each log about ½-inch wide and ¼-inch deep.
- Place dulce de leche in a plastic zip top bag. Cut a corner from the bag. Squeeze dulce de leche from bag to pipe 2 tablespoons into the indention on each log.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden.
- Cool logs on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Use 2 spatulas to carefully lift logs to a cutting board.
- Slice logs diagonally into ¾-inch wide strips. You may need to scrape dulce de leche off sides of the knife as you are cutting.
- Place cookie strips on a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from one in Pillsbury’s The Complete Book of Baking published in 1993.
The Creative Cookie Exchange theme this month is Caramel; any kind of caramel in any kind of cookie. If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Basement Brownies from Sidewalk Shoes
- Camel Milk Caramel Basbousa from Food Lust People Love
- Caramel Cashew Cookies from Our Good Life
- Caramel Coconut Cookies from Basic N Delicious
- Caramel Shortbread Cookie Strips from Magnolia Days
- Caramel Thumbprint Cookies from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
- Caramelized White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies from Baking Yummies
- Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars from The Spiced Life
- Chocolate Caramel Rocks from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate Walnut Caramel Stuffed Cookies from Noshing with the Nolands
- Eggless Vanilla-Caramel Biscotti from What Smells So Good?
- Millionaire Shortbread Bars from Spiceroots
- Salted Caramel Butter Cookies from SimplyVeggies
- Salted Caramel Macarons from A Baker’s House
- Take 5 Caramel Oatmeal Cookies from 2 Cookin’ Mamas