Ok…so I was back a day later than promised. What can I say…I gotta little sucked into what Wiggs referred to as a vortex called wedding blogs. Its quite overwhelming to say the least. But what I am really here to talk about is this….
Hello Lover [said in a Carrie Bradshaw voice]. Yes, this is another recipe from The Baked Cookbook. Yes, I am sad that I have had to return the book to the library. Yes, it is the first thing I am throwing in my shopping cart the next time I need to make an Amazon purchase.
I didn’t think that it was possible to top The Brownie, but this shortbread did. You start with a layer of perfectly flaky, slightly salty, not too sweet shortbread. Next you layer caramelized sweetened condensed milk (caramelized sweetened condensed milk!?!?!?!?!) and then top it with a rich chocolate glaze. After a chill in the fridge, it was ready for a knife to slice through the surface and cut out little squares.
I made the shortbread for our NYE party well before I knew that it would be a memorable night. But these shortbread were perfect for the occasion. I will admit that making the caramel was a tad fussy (25 mins worth of 2 min bursts of 1/2 power in the microwave with stirring in between) but it was magical. Great flavor without being super sticky and getting stuck in your teeth. This recipe is also an all day affair because of the 3 different stages which makes it sorta perfect for a day when you are at home and prepping for a party. You could also make the shortbread the night before to cut down some of the time on the day of. I packed up the leftovers (yes there were leftovers, these puppies are rich) and brought them to San Diego where they hardly survived the plane.
Recipe Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
For the shortbread:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
For the caramel filling:
28 ounces sweetened condensed milk, (two 14-ounces cans)
For the chocolate glaze:
6 ounces dark chocolate, (60% cacao) coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
The shortbread base:
Preheat the oven to 350℉. 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, cream the sugar and butter together.
Add two cups of the flour and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolk and beat for a few seconds, or until just combined.
Now this is the fun part; 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 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 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Make the caramel filling:
Put the sweetened condensed milk in a large (really biggest one you can fit because mine overflowed some and I had to go buy another can) microwave-safe bowl. Cook on 50% power for 4 minutes, stirring briskly halfway through until smooth. Cook on 30% power for 12 to 18 minutes (mine went for probably another 22 mins), until very thick and caramel colored, stirring briskly every two minutes, until smooth.
Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread and place the pan in the refrigerator (or out on your apt balcony in the winter) until cool, about two hours.
Make the chocolate glaze:
In a large 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 one 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.
Bars can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.