Accolades all around for luxury shortbread, no surprises here!
Leave your links here for this fancied up shortbread!
Next up on the schedule: the “Rich Man’s Twix.” Posting date is January 27!
- ½ cup sugar
- 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (two 14-ounce cans)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 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 ½ 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.
- Stovetop method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of boiling water over low heat. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until thick and caramel colored. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat until smooth.
- Microwave oven method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on 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 cool, about two hours.
- 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.
Our bakers are big fans of these crunchy, chewy treats!
How do ya’ like them apples?
Fall is in full swing — time to make some vanilla bean caramel apples! Posting date is November 4.
- 10 to 12 crisp apples
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Wash and thoroughly dry the apples. Remove the stems, then set them on parchment-lined baking sheets a few inches apart. Insert a small dowel (about 7 inches long, pencil-sharpened on one end) about three quarters of the way through each apple.
- Put the cream in a small heavy pot. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using the tip of the knife or a small teaspoon, scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream. Add the vanilla bean to the cream.
- Simmer the cream and vanilla over very low heat for 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the vanilla bean and any other fibrous pieces. Vanilla bean flecks will remain.
- Return the vanilla cream to the pot, then add the sugar, corn syrup, and butter, making sure that the mixture doesn’t splash onto the sides of the pot. Place the pot over very low heat and stir very gently until the sugar is dissolved, to prevent burning. When the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. Heat the caramel mixture, without stirring, to 245 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, put a few handfuls of ice in a medium bowl that is large enough to accommodate the pot with the caramel mixture.
- When the caramel mixture reaches 245 degrees F. (and stays there for at least 1 minute), remove from the heat and place the pot on top of the ice for 30 seconds to slow the cooking. Remove the pan from the ice.
- Tilt the pot toward you to create a big pool of caramel and, working fast, immediately begin dipping the apples in it. Dip each apple only once, and don’t worry about coating it evenly or completely (the more you fuss with the caramel the more difficult it will become to dip). Return the caramel-dipped apples back to the baking sheet and refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 10 minutes. Serve.
Our bakers raved about this indulgent cake!
Well? Is sweet even better with salty? Leave your links here for the sweet and salty cake!
For our August 12 posting date, we are baking the signature Baked dessert: Sweet and Salty Cake! Get out your cake pans….
- 3⁄4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 11⁄4 cups hot water
- 2⁄3 cup sour cream
- 2 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 3⁄4 cup (11⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
- 11⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1⁄4 cup sour cream
- 1 pound dark chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), chopped
- 11⁄2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons fleur de sel, plus more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream and set aside to cool.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbonlike, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three addi- tions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved.
- Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream mixture so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1⁄4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.
- Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat.
- Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1⁄4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the caramel cool for 1 minute.
- Add the cream to the caramel and stir to combine. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let the caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate and caramel mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the mixture cool, then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.
- Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1⁄4 cup of the caramel over the top. Let the caramel soak into the cake, then spread 3⁄4 cup of the ganache frosting over the caramel. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the fleur de sel over the frosting, then top with the second cake layer. Spread with caramel frosting and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the fleur de sel. Then top with the third layer. Spread with caramel. Crumb coat the cake (see page 22) and put the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the frosting. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.
- Remove the cake from the refrig-erator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
Two chocolate, and one strawberry… two out of three bakers recommend adding a cupcake to your milkshake!