Bake or Break

Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies

stack of Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies on a white plate

My desire to bake caramel desserts increases exponentially with the arrival of fall. Sure, I love caramel all year, but there’s just something about it that makes it go hand in hand with cool, crisp days.

Of course, caramel and chocolate are great friends, too. Having made many versions of caramel brownies, I wanted to do something just a bit different.

Recently, Werther’s sent me a sampling of their new Werther’s Original® Baking Caramels and Werther’s Original® Caramel Popcorn, so I’ve had plenty of caramel to keep me busy with recipe ideas. I decided quickly that I needed to make good use of the popcorn to prevent us from just eating it all straight from the bag.

Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies feature rich brownies, caramel, and a crust flavored with caramel popcorn. - Bake or Break

I started with the idea of a shortbread crust topped with caramel and brownies. But, for a fun twist, I added some of that caramel popcorn to the crust. The popcorn gives an otherwise traditional crust a little sweetness and a great flavor twist without being overwhelming.

The crust is topped with a simple caramel layer made from just two ingredients. Then, a rich brownie is baked on top of that. I know, right? These brownies mean business. Serious caramel business.

For more caramel recipes and ideas, be sure to visit Werther’s Caramel Shoppe.

Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies

Yield 24 2-inch bars
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
stack of Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies on a white plate

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup Werther's Original® Caramel Popcorn
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the caramel:

For the brownies:

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9"x 13" baking pan. Line with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Grease lining.
  2. Place flour, butter, popcorn, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well-combined and the dough begins to come together.
  3. Press crust mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow crust to cool completely.

To make the caramel:

  1. Place unwrapped caramels and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each heating, until caramels have melted and mixture is smooth. (This should take a total of 3 to 4 minutes.)
  2. Spread caramel mixture evenly over cooled crust, leaving about 1/2-inch border along the edges.
  3. Place pan in refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

To make the brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half power in microwave in 30-second increments until butter has melted and chocolate melts when stirred. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Using a whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, mix sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add chocolate/butter mixture and mix until smooth.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low or stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread brownie mixture evenly over caramel, making sure to spread the brownie mixture all the way to the sides.
  6. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the brownie layer comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Notes

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes.



Disclosure: Werther’s provided me with product samples and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

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    14 Comments on “Caramel Popcorn Shortbread Brownies”

  1. I have such fond memories of Werther’s! My grandparents always had a candy dish full of them and I would hoard them for the drive home!

  2. YOU PUT CARAMEL POPCORN IN THESE??!!! Whoa. Just…whoa!

  3. Thanks, Kareno. I’ll look into it. I’m glad you found me anyway!

  4. Brilliant idea for the crust! I love caramel corn, and I love brownies. I bet these taste amazing!

  5. This looks amazing! This time of the year I like to put caramel on all my dessert too. This looks like a big twix bar šŸ˜‰

  6. These look perfect.. I don’t think I’d be able to control myself just eating one!

  7. Jennifer,
    Your brownies look amazing. I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them until they were all gone.
    Annamaria

  8. Popcorn in the crust? HOW FUN IS THAT?!!! Totally trying that!!

  9. Awesome use of that popcorn and such a fun sweet buttery flavor twist!!

  10. Ooh great original use of the popcorn. I’d have never thought to use it in a crust!

  11. I never would have thought to put popcorn into a shortbread crust. What a great idea! I can’t wait to try these.

  12. Looks delicious. Except Australia doesn’t sell the Werther’s Original cooking caramel or popcorn šŸ™ ..any alternatives? Thank you! <3

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