Friday, September 16, 2011

Baking for Billionaires

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If you read this blog with any regularity you will realize just how much I love anything to do with shortbread. Blame it on my Scottish roots! I love how you can combine just a few simple ingredients and get a cookie dough, the crust of a pie or the bottom layer of something truly fantastic like this recipe.

The original recipe is one of Claire Robinson's "5 Ingredient Fix" creations on the Food Network that she called Millionaire Shortbread. I added an extra ingredient (hence the upgrade in name) and I can't wait to experiment more with this basic dessert. Bars are a great way to go with dessert, as you can add in any combo of ingredients and still come up with something fun and tasty to serve your guests or just yourself post-dinner. Most of my favorite bar recipes include some type of citrus, but these might have just converted me to a whole new world of delicious bar creations. Not to mention, they can also be a game - check out the tic-tac-toe (and no I didn't win)!

Next time (at my husband's suggestion) I'll replace the caramel-like layer with a peanut butter creme and see how that turns out. But for now, check out my new favorite shortbread creation and let me know if you think it deserves the billionaire status!

Billionaire Shortbread

Ingredients for Shortbread Layer

  • 2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for preparing pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pans
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Caramel Crunch Layer
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Ingredients for Chocolate Layer
  • 3/4 pound good-quality milk chocolate
1. For the shortbread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) square nonstick pans and coat with flour, tapping off excess. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine. Add butter and mix on a high speed until mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter is no bigger than the size of peas. Press the shortbread mixture into prepared pans and bake until golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

2. For the caramel layer - In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Continue stirring over the heat until mixture becomes thick and amber in color, about 15 minutes. Add in the pecans and stir for another 3-5 minutes. Pour the caramel over the cooked shortbread and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Cool to room temperature.

3. For the chocolate layer - in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Once chocolate has melted, pour it over the cooled caramel crunch layer. Cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, allowing chocolate to slightly harden but not get hard. I preferred to eat these at room-temp, but you might like them as a cold treat too. Just make sure to store them in an air-tight container whether in the fridge or on the kitchen counter!

The last step is to try not to eat the entire pan yourself before your in-laws come over for dinner! This is my husband's new favorite dessert for sure, let me know if you try it! Another great sweet/salty combo would be to add pretzel bits into the caramel layer...oooh - I'm coming up with more ideas just posting this...hmmm...

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