February 23, 2011

Shortbread Bars with Dulce de Leche Caramel and Chocolate Ganache

I saw a recipe some time ago for Twix bars, one of my favorite candy bars, and thought I'd play around with it a little. I made a shortbread bottom layer and then found a fun recipe to make homemade Dulce de Leche. This sweet caramel like mixture is popular in South America and in spanish translates literally to "sweet of milk" or "milk candy." The process takes some time (took me almost two hours) and requires a close watch but it is so worth it! On top of that I added a layer of our favorite chocolate ganache. The three very distinct flavors combine in a wonderful way - very rich but very satisfying. The recipe below yields 24 rectangular pieces. Enjoy!

1. Though time consuming, the dulce de leche from scratch is so worth the time.
2. Be careful while the Dulce de Leche is cooking to not let it boil out of the pot as it is quite a mess to clean up. I know - it happened twice to me.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
12 Tbs unsalted butter

Dulche de Leche Caramel
3 quarts milk
3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate Ganache
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
12 Tbs butter, softened
1/3 cup light corn syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 inch square pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.

3. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until sandy in texture.

4. Press mixture into pan, pierce with a fork and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees, and cook for and additional 30-40 minutes until it is pale golden and no longer doughy.
6. Set aside to cool.

Dulche de Leche Caramel
1. In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, whisk together 1 cup of the milk with the sugar and the baking soda until smooth.
2. Add the remaining milk and turn heat to medium high.
3. Stir frequently until mixture comes to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by just under half and caramel brown.

5. Pour over cooled shortbread.

6. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache
1. In a small saucepan, melt chocolates over very low heat, stirring constantly.
2. Stir until almost melted, then remove from heat and stir until melted and smooth.
3. Stir in the butter 1 Tbs at a time.

4. Stir in corn syrup
5. Pour over the cooled caramel layer.

6. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
7. Cut carefully into 24 rectangular shaped pieces and serve slightly chilled.

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