Shortbread Cookie Base:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
½ cup + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (if you don’t have vanilla bean paste – use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk (whole or 2% will work – just don’t use skim)
Caramel Coconut Topping:
12 ounces dulce de leche (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
2 – 3 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of kosher salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I like anything in the 48% – 63% range for these)
½ teaspoon coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 325˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the butter, salt and confectioner’s sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture looks light and fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add in the milk and vanilla bean paste and mix until fully incorporated. Drop the mixer speed to low, add in flour and mix until the dough just comes together.
If dough feels too sticky to roll out, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. If it’s feeling good, then it’s time to roll out the dough! On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out the cookies using a 2-inch round cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cookies for 11 – 12 mins or until just barely beginning to take on a golden brown color around the edges. They will set up more while they cool, so it’s better to err on the side of under baking than over baking. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, make the coconut caramel topping. In a small saucepan, warm up the dulce de leche over low heat. Once it’s warmed up a bit, stir in the heavy cream and a pinch of kosher salt. You want the consistency of the caramel to be spreadable. Start with two tablespoons of cream and if it’s still feeling too thick – add in more cream one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Remove the pan from heat and fold in the toasted coconut.
Using a small off-set spatula, spread roughly 1 tablespoon of the coconut caramel on top of each cookie. If you notice that the caramel is thickening up and becoming hard to spread – just pop it back on the stove for a couple of minutes. Once all the cookies have been topped it’s time to get working on the chocolate!
In a small microwaveable bowl, place the chopped chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave in 20 second intervals (stirring between each) until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate into a shallow bowl and then carefully dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. It doesn’t have to be too perfect, but the goal is to coat the bottom and sides of the cookies.
Once each cookie is coated in chocolate, use the remaining chocolate to drizzle on top of the cookies. You can do this with either a fork or by using a small pastry bag. Fork is definitely the easier option, but I prefer the pastry bag for more control. Let the chocolate set for at least one hour before serving.