This recipe is from the cookbook Baked:New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and they are the only thing I have tried but all the photos in this book make me want to try everything but I am not sure I will. I have checked this book out from the library and I going to admit this out loud or I guess more like in black and white print....I loved the look of this cookbook. It was the typography, the graphics, the styling just made me want to pick it up and dive into baking! And in reading the recipes I want to make many of these recipes. But I won't touch some of them because they are just going to take too much time for me. I am not a patient baker. I love to bake but I am not patient. And some of these recipes (including this one I am about to tell you about) include patience. And although I am sure the recipes in Baked:New Frontiers in Baking are worth the patience - I just am not sure I am the woman up for the job of testing that out. But I did for this recipe and the bars in the end were worth the effort. OH MY!
These are not bars you can just easily whip up in 30 minutes to an hour. This requires a whole afternoon. They are time consuming and messy to make. As I said I wasn't sure they were going to be worth all the effort but Oh MY! These bars are HEAVEN! Probably the best bars I have had in a very long time. If you are wanting rave reviews, have the time and don't care to make a mess, take the time to create these.
And I suspect that many of the recipes from the cookbook would end up this way - with rave reviews and worth the time and effort.
These reminded me of an upscaled Twix candy bar so I cut them in long skinny bars instead of squares.
for the Shortbread
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 /12 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
for the Caramel Filling
28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (two 14-ounce cans)
for the Chocolate Glaze
6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
for the shortbread:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until blended.
Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolk and beat for a few seconds, or until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with a little flour. Use your hands to gently work the dough into a 6-by-6-inch square. You will have to turn the dough and sprinkle the top with flour as you go. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour on the surface of the dough. Fold the dough over and knead until incorporated, then flatten the dough into a rectangle. Transfer the rectangle to the prepared pan and press it into the pan.
Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
for the caramel filling:
Stovetop Method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of boling water over low heat. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, until thick and caramel colored. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat until smooth.
Microwave Method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook at 50 percent power (medium) for 4 minutes, stirring briskly halfway through, until smooth. Cook on 30 percent power (medium-low) for 12 to 18 minutes, until very thick and caramel colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes, until smooth.
Pour the caramel filling over the cooled shortbread and place the pan in the refrigerator until cooled, about 2 hours.
for the chocoalte glaze:
In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled caramel layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.
Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the glaze hardens.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving so as not to crack the chocolate glaze. Cut into squares and serve.
The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
- made caramel via microwave method and much like when I make my maple fudge recipe - it boils up and over the bowl - so be prepared for a mess in the microwave
- I would add 1 tsp vanilla to caramel
- I added just a bit more chocolate as I used dark chocolate chips instead and had a little left in my bag and didn't want to put them back in my cupboard so used the rest so my chocolate is a little thicker then pictured in the book
- I just melted the chocolate mixture in the microwave instead of on the stovetop and it worked fine