Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chocolate Shortbread Bars

There are shortbread cookies, shortbread crusts, shortbread biscuits… oh, my gosh…

too many to list!

I’ve decided to choose bars this time… too simple to make and so delicious!

Check them out!

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Chocolate Shortbread

Ingredients:

4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons unsweetened premium dark cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup powdered sugar

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

Cooking spray

Preparation:

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Place sugar, butter, and oil in a medium bowl; mix with hands until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix with hands until combined; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; press dough into an 8 x 5–inch rectangle about 3/8-inch thick. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or just until set. Cut shortbread into 24 pieces. Cool completely.

YIELD: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

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M&M Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars

Ingredients:

16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups (222 g) AP flour (I used King Arthur)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 t fine sea salt

1 cup peanut butter chips

2 small cookie scoops (50 g) of natural peanut butter

1/2 t coarse sea salt

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 t vanilla

1 cup M&Ms

Additional coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9X13 pan with foil and lightly grease the foil (very lightly–I accidentally forgot and it was ok).

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Mix in flour, sugar and fine sea salt just until the mixture is crumbly. Scoop out about 2 cups of the mixture (reserving the rest of the mixture) and scatter it in the bottom of the prepared pan. Evenly pat the mixture down to form a crust – if it is sticky at all, use a piece of plastic wrap to help press down. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the edges have started to turn a golden brown color, about 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter chips and sweetened condensed milk. Add the peanut butter to this as well. Heat over low and stir until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt. Quickly pour the mixture over the hot crust and use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the mixture.

Combine the reserved crumbles and M&Ms. Scatter these evenly over the top of the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle with additional coarse sea salt to taste (these bars are quite sweet so I think the salt makes a nice contrast). Place back in the oven and bake until the center is set, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars (life the bars out of the pan by the foil and then slice on a cutting board).

Makes about 28 bars.

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Millionaire's Shortbread

Ingredients:

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

pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Caramel filling

28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (two 14-ounce cans)

Chocolate glaze

6 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

Procedure:

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 salt and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract 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:

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.

For the chocolate 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.

Makes 24 bars

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Marshmallow Caramel Bars

Ingredients:

For the shortbread crust:

1 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup white sugar

1 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp. milk or cream

For the caramel layer:

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. dark corn syrup

1/3 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the marshmallow layer:

1 Recipe Homemade Marshmallows (follow the directions below)

For the chocolate ganache:

1 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Add the egg and milk, mix to form a dough. Press into a buttered 9″ by 9″ or a 10″ by 10″ baking pan (see note, below). Bake for 20 minutes and set aside to cool in the pans.

For the caramel layer:

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the caramel layer. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves, and then stop stirring. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer reads 230 degrees. Remove from heat and pour over the baked crust. Set aside the caramel layer to cool.

For the marshmallow layer:

Follow the directions in the homemade marshmallow recipe, except instead of pouring the marshmallow batter into a prepared container, pour it on top of the cooled caramel layer, and spread it out evenly. Allow to set in the refrigerator until marshmallows are much less sticky, about 2 hours.

For the chocolate layer:

Melt chocolate and cream together in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and then stir. If the chocolate is not fully melted, heat for another ten seconds, and stir again. Repeat until you have a smooth, chocolate ganache.

Pour the ganache over the marshmallow layer on the bars, and allow to set in the refrigerator for another hour or two (I know, it’s torture).

Once the chocolate has set, cut the bars using a large, very sharp knife. The caramel hardens quite a bit but can still be cut, just apply pressure. Serve!

Note: The recipe I made created enough for a 6″ by 10″ baking pan, and also a 6″ circular pan. A 9″ by 9″ or a 10″ by 10″ pan would hold the same amount of dough, the only difference will be how tall your bars are (bigger pan, shorter bars).

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Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Shortbread Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks cold organic butter cut into small pieces

2 cups organic flour

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 TSP vanilla

A pinch of salt, I added a little more then normal due to the large amount of white chocolate

1 12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips

About 1/2 cup organic fresh cranberries, sliced thin

About 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts – feel free to add as much or as little as you like

To Make the Shortbread:

Using your fingers, combine the butter, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt until the mixture becomes a uniform dough. If it seems a little dry – add in a TSP of cold water until it is the correct consistency

Mix in about 2/3 – 3/4 of the chopped macadamia nuts

Press dough into a greased or lined 8×8 or 9×9 pan, make sure it is one even layer

Bake at 350º F for about 15 minutes, or until the top is just starting to turn golden

Once the macadamia nut shortbread has cooled, decorate the top with the cranberry slices.

Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler until smooth and pourable

.double boiler 150x150 Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Shortbread Barswhitechocolate 150x150 Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Shortbread Bars

Pour the white chocolate over the cranberries and cookie until it is evenly coated. If you want to add a little decoration on top of the white chocolate, sprinkle with more cranberry slices and chopped macadamia nuts.

Allow the white chocolate to completely harden before cutting the bars.

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They’re pretty simple to make, aren’t they? I’ll be back to share shortbread cookies, biscuits,… with you soon!

Happy chocolate day! :)

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