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Dec 19, 2009 01:41 PM

Help! Making new recipe for shortbread (Rich Man's Shortbread)

Today I am trying out some new cookie and sweet items that will hopefully be a part of my gift baskets. This particular recipe has what they call a toffee topping, and then it ends with a chocolate glaze.

The problem is that the recipe instructs to add corn syrup in the toffee topping but doesn't indicate dark or light corn syrup. My inclination is to go with the dark, so what do I do, I use the light. I know I'm probably wrong.

Once the shortbread is cool enough I layer the top of shortbread with the toffee and once that cools, the chocolate layer. I am suppose to boil the toffee mixture for 5 minutes, so I'm think perhaps it will darken up then. I do make shortbread but this is the first one I've made that has toppings or that has layers of toffee and chocolate and it sounded so good. As I was reading the recipe, I kept thinking KitKat. Wouldn't that be great!

For the record and next time,does anyone know which of the corn syrups I should of used? If this turns out as good as I think it will, I'll be making this again often. The person I have in mind is my non cooking, sweet toothed sister who has a special love for anything with good chocolate and she loves good shortbread full of butter. Oh I sure hope I get it right she will ve so happy!

I've not worked with corn syrup very much at all. In fact I think the only thing I've used it for is for pecan pie and maybe tassies (if it's in the recipe).

As usual here I am spur of the moment working a new recipe. I really would appreciate any help with this if anyone knows.


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  1. Chicklet, I am not familiar with the recipe but either dark or light will "work" for the recipe, the difference will be in the flavor. I always assume a recipe means light corn syrup unless it states otherwise.

    If it asks you to boil the toffee for 5 minutes, does it give any other indicators as to the desired consistency, color, volume? (for example, boil until thickened, or boil until toffee turns a dark amber, or boil until reduced by half - approx 5 minutes? If they ask for a color (dark amber) than the corn syrup you use will make a difference. The dark syrup could give a false reading.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gardencub

      I just searched on Google for Rich Man's Shortbread and a recipe from Sur la Table came up. After reading it, I would use light corn syrup myself, but the quantity, (a couple of tablespoons) is fairly small so I still believe that either would work.

    2. I think either would work, but probably I'd use light, since that's a) what I have on hand and b) what I use when making almond buttercrunch, which is toffee-like. Maybe it just needed to cook a little longer? The recipe sounds great btw. Do you have a link?

      1. Thank you all for answering. I used the light and its now in the fridge cooling so I can add the chocolate layer. Let me tell you I think this is going to be a really really good cookie.
        I saw a photo and no the toffee layer isn't dark in fact its sort of a caramel, and tastes like carmel layer. I'm topping with chocolate, a mix of bittersweet, and semi. I can't wait. These look absolutely decadent. Ii'm willing to bet that chopped pecans or sliced almonds would be wonderful. I'll photo when done. thanks for answering everyone.

        No there were no indicators, just instructed to boil 5 mins, with no mention of color.

        I got the recipe from one of my ancient Victoria magazines, dated June 1991, but when searching for help for the syrup using Rich Man's Shortbread, there were several recipes that popped up and Sur la Table was one. Iit's exactly the same as the one in Victoria's magazine. I did double the recipe, except the toffee layer, I didn't use a cup of butter. is the link for that recipe:
        Looks the same or if you want I can paraphrase the one I have...
        these are not easy, meaning they are time consuming, and there is some cooking. But all in all, they look like they're going to be really great.

        11 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          I'm late to this thread and I just checked the recipe link. I'm glad you decided to use the light corn syrup. Dark corn syrup would have given the toffee an overwhelmingly strong "molasses-like" flavor, detracting from the "toffee-esk" quality, and not tasting very good with the chocolate glaze, either.
          In the case of corn syrup, when a recipe doesn't indicate which to use, they are usually calling for the light syrup. The dark syrup doesn't have a lot of applications, IMO, pecan pie being about the only one I can think of right now.
          I'm glad it worked out and I bet the shortbread will taste terrific.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Thank you for answering. When I was reading the label I did see "molasses" mentioned, and that was what made me choose the light. HA! What do you know, once in awhile I get it right! And exactly as you, I thought that the two flavors would clash, however then I think about that candy, I think its called seafoam. I remember it being chocolate and a molasses flavor and I loved it as a kid. Am I thinking of something else?

            1. re: chef chicklet

              I've had molasses, peanut butter or brown sugar flavored seafoam, sometimes it's dipped in chocolate. Seafoam is the sugar and whipped egg white candy, similar to meringue. I like those molasses crunch chocolates you get in boxes of commercial candies. I've also made pecan pie with dark corn syrup and a layer of chocolate on the bottom, which was ok but I prefer light corn for pecan pie. So light molasses is ok with chocolate but dark corn syrup, not so much.

              Was the toffee still hot when you spread it or did you let it cool? I'm just wondering about how thickly you spread it. Or maybe you could just make the toffee a little thinner next time, to spread better. There will be a next time.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                It was hot. The recipe said to just pour it on while it was hot. But then I let it cool and chilled it before i put the chocolate layer on. There was actually too much toffee, I didn't use it all.

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              hey bushwick, have you ever made hokey pokey? if you like sea foam I think it's very close to the same

              1. re: iL Divo

                Is that honeycomb candy? There was a recent thread about it here. Honeycomb is crunchier, while seafoam is a meringue-like concoction, which kind of melts in your mouth. I like both.
                Nigella Lawson has a recipe for honeycomb at FN made with dark corn syrup and it couldn't be easier. Another use for dark Karo.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    Bushwicky.............if you knew how many batches of Nigella's hokey pokey I've made after watching her show a few years ago where it was featured, you could win the lottery. I think honeycomb and hokey pokey are one in the same. different name but ingredients pretty much the same. And the ingredient variations are so numerous too. Dark corn syrup vs. light, honey vs pancake syrup, white sugar vs dark, it's endless, love the stuff, apparently too much :(

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Yeah, I think it's referred to as hokey-pokey in the British Isles and Austraila, and it's honeycomb in the US. Good stuff, maybe I'll make some this weekend, since all this talk as got me drooling.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        I recently over the last few years lost some weight. I am sure what caused a few pounds to creap back on was my eating so much hokey pokey. This stuff is [to me anyway] addictive. [I find you either love it or not so much].

            3. Yum this is a pretty decadent shortbread. I improvised the recipe a bit, and I think I could of even improvised more. There is almost too much toffee layer, meaning it's thick and gooey making it rather messy. I'll see if it sets up more tomorrow, and then take its picture.

              4 Replies
                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Excellent, I used a good dark chocolate and if I changed anything it would be to not layer the toffee on as thick as I did. It makes it difficult to cut, well that and the chocolate. I used a smallish serrated knife and that worked well. But as far as tastes goes, it was perfect. The toffee center never hardens and remains on the softer side.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    This looks like a recipe I used to make but had lost. It was made in a 9 X 9 pan though. Maybe a larger pan will make the toffee layer closer to the right thickness? 10 x 6 is a loaf pan.

                    1. re: sharonanne

                      Sorry if I was unclear, I used the Victoria recipe, I shouldn't if linked Sur La T's. I was wanting to know about the toffee layer when I did that. I used the recipe from Victoria which is:
                      1/2 cup unsalted butter sofetened
                      4 1/2 T superfine sugar
                      1 1/3 cup AP flour

                      Toffee Topping
                      1/2 cup unsalted butter
                      4 1/2 T sufer fine sugar
                      2 T corn syrup
                      1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
                      1/4 tsp of vanilla

                      7 oz choclate - and I used dark Scharfenberger
                      pressed into a 10 x 6 1/2 baking dish and I used an 8x8
                      Also needed to is to cool each layer inbetween the next application.
                      The toffee is gooey like.

                      Gosh now I remember the recipes were exactly the same, that's why I posted the link to the sur la t.

              1. Chicklet, I have a shortbread pan that leaves raised designs in the cookie. I'd love to try this recipe to "up" the cookies. I've done it once by cutting the cookies apart and dipping the backs in chocolate so the design is preserved. Other than the mess, do you think I'd be able to do the toffee part by spooning it over the backs of the cookies on racks? I think it's necessary to cut the cookies apart prior to the toffee and chocolate because the pressure of cutting them face down afterwards would crush the design.

                1 Reply
                1. re: morwen

                  I'm not sure, the toffee was gooey, your chocolate might not stay down as well as you'd like. Sounds like a beautiful idea. It might if you don't use as much toffee as I did.
                  Perhaps making more of a candy like caramel???