Thursday, July 19, 2007
Chocolate Caramel Slice
I didn't end up cooking dinner tonight because I didn't get to the grocery store before 8:30 and they didn't have 3 of the key ingredients I needed for my planned dinner. So grilled cheese and soup it was. I did, however, do a little baking. I'm generally much more a cooker, but these days the desire to bake has been pulling my attention from the stove to the oven.
Tonight, I made these Chocolate Caramel Bars from May's Bon Appetit. I intended to make them a long time ago as a treat for my last law school class, but time got in the way. For the past few months, I have had the can of sweetened condensed milk looking at me and tonight was the night I popped that bad boy open.
I REALLY enjoyed these. Too much. I practically camped in front of the refrigerator waiting for the chocolate to set. As soon as they were ready, I cut them and ate one. Then I ate another. Very tasty. The caramel was perfect, which is good because I was a little nervous. I never quite got the caramel up to the suggested temperature, but I was worried about burning it, so I went with looks. Once it was super thick, I went ahead and pulled it off the heat. The caramel making made me appreciate my gas stove even more; the ability to change the heat so quickly and by such small increments made the candy making process a little more doable.
My husband also really liked these. He did, however, say they made him thirsty. They are a tad rich; I'm guessing that's what he meant. He also told me that I should name these Fancy Twix Bars. If the recipe were my own, dear, I'm still not sure that's what I'd name them, but they do taste quite a bit like Twix bars. It's the cookie, chocolate, caramel combo.
Chocolate Caramel Slice
1 c all purpose flour
1/4 c packed golden brown sugar
2 t cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 T ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c packed golden brown sugar
6 T unsalted butter, diced
2 T golden syrup or dark corn syrup (I used dark)
1 t vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet- 61%- and that was definitely a good choice. The caramel is super sweet, so the bitter chocolate helped balance that)
3 T whipping cream
Flaked sea salt
For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 11x7x2 inch metal baking pan (I used glass since I didn't have a metal one and I could find one at Target, Crate and Barrel, or Bed, Bath and Beyond). Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter. Using on/off turns, blend until a coarse meal forms. Add 1 T ice water and egg yolk. Blend until moist clumps form. Press dough onto bottom of pan (my dough was super sticky- this step was a bit of a challenge and I had trouble getting the dough evenly spread); pierce all over with fork. Bake until golden, piercing if crust bubbles, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
For toppings: Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, butter melts, and mixture comes to boil. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Boil gently until caramel is thick and temperature registers 225 degrees F, whisking constantly, about 6 minutes. Pour caramel evenly over crust; cool 15 minutes to set.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate with cream in microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring occasionally. Spread chocolate over warm caramel; sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.
Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 5 or 6 slices. Transfer to platter (or tummy) and serve.
Store in refrigerator.