3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped pecans
30 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Lightly grease the sides of the foil in the pan (to prevent the caramel from sticking to the foil) and set aside.
Add the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter to a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring well until the mixture is completely smooth. Add in the chopped pecans and stir until fully combined. Set aside.
Add the caramel candies and heavy cream to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until the mixture is melted and smooth.
Add half of the fudge to the prepared baking pan and smooth it out. Add all of the caramel on top and evenly distribute it on top of the fudge. Add the remaining half of the fudge and spread it out evenly over the caramel.
Transfer fudge to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours (or overnight) or until the fudge is solid enough to cut into squares. Cut into small pieces and enjoy!
Preheat oven to 325°.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approx 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.
While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Once the caramel is melted add in your ½ tsp vanilla and stir until combined.
Pour the caramel filling over the crust. If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now.
Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.