Whether you’re baking for a cookie swap or just want to trade out the traditional icebox cookie for a treat that’s sure to garner ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ and multiple recipe requests, these sticky toffee shortbread bars are a must. A cross between a butter tart and sticky toffee pudding, these bars are sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth. They also make great edible gifts for neighbours, holiday party hosts, and from what we’ve heard, Santa too!
Preheat your oven to 350° and line an 8” baking dish with parchment paper (so it hangs over the edges). Combine flour, sugar, and cold butter until coarse crumbs form (a food processor with a dough blade is a quick and easy way to do this).
Pour the crumb mixture into your parchment-lined dish and press down to create the shortbread base. Bake until it’s golden around the edges, about 25 minutes.
Chop dates and add to ¼ cup of water in a small pot. Set pot over medium-high and bring to a boil (keep covered and stir occasionally), then reduce heat to medium and boil gently for about 3 minutes. Take pot off heat and stir in the baking soda (don’t worry, it combines easily – creates a somewhat frothy date mixture). Set dates aside to cool.
Stir baking powder into flour and salt in a small bowl, then in a separate bowl (if you mixed shortbread by hand, you can use this same bowl), whisk eggs. Add the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla to the eggs and continue whisking until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture to the whisked eggs mixture, and combine. Fold in your dates and chopped pecans, and pour over the baked shortbread crust.
Bake until the filling has set and the edges are deeply golden, somewhere between 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. Let the dish cool completely on a wire rack, and then cut into bars. Will stay fresh in an airtight container (refrigerated) for up to a week, or in the freezer for a month.
Best enjoyed with a cold glass of milk, and good friends!
Try this recipe: Sticky toffee shortbread bars