Also, this call to arms only applies if you like delicious things and you have a fair-to-moderate tolerance for gingerbread. As long as there is snow on the ground, gingerbread is still relevant.
Full disclosure- I really do love Paul A. Young, I think they're doing the very best, tops in both the weird chocolate division and traditional stylings. This little shortbread tows the line between the two, with traditional bakery tastes that aren't usually paired together. Sure, easy to find gingerbread around Christmas, and Millionaire's/Billionaire's shortbread is everywhere, anytime. The two of them together though, not an obvious pick.
Ya see, gingerbread, especially the traditional cake-y type stuff, is often considered suitable only for taste buds that grew up on horehound candy and molasses--caramel is for the young, wild, and free-flowing! Why would the two ever go together? I'll tell you why--this bar right here, that's why.
Unwrapped, this bar smells like caramel and chocolate, with the tiniest after-smell of spice. Mostly caramel, though, and really nice salty and buttery caramel.
As you can see, it is a very dense layer of salted caramel, a layer of gingerbread 'cake' about 3/4s as big, and a thin shell of decorative dark chocolate on top.
The salted caramel itself is thick, and reminds of me texturally of condensed milk fudge that hasn't quite firmed up all the way. The taste is amazing, rich and salty without any of that shrill sweetness that usually accompanies a mound of thick caramel like this. I feel like there might have been a hint of spice to the caramel, but I might've just been conditioning myself to look for it. I think the primary spice-carrier in this was the shortbread.
The shortbread was interesting, it wasn't at all a biscuit, nor was it dense like a brownie. It was light and a bit crumbly, pretty much like a gingerbread cake. If you broke it in half, it would crumble up a bit and there would be no snap split. Just a light, soft spice bread/cake. Hard texture to describe, but if you've had gingerbread cake you'll understand what I mean....hopefully. There were pieces of actual ginger in the cake as well--not crystallized, little strands of actual ginger. It was spicy without having any heat to it, just the way I like my spicy cakes.
The dark chocolate layer was tasty, sure, but it is mostly decorative if you ask me. The stars of this show were the salted caramel and the spicy undercurrent of the gingerbread base.
It's too bad that this was seasonal, but I'm looking forward to the next seasonal batch of Paul A. Young baked goods--next up is a Valentine's day raspberry salted caramel such 'n' such bar. I'll be eating that as soon as I can, rest assured.