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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Some things are just so good that they don’t even need an explanation… These homemade twix bars fit that category.

Thousand Dollar Bars – King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Shortbread Layer

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Layer

2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Layer

2 cups chopped chocolate (milk or dark)

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional)

course sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but such a  delicious addition)

Directions:

1. FOR THE CRUST: Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan lightly with cooking spray, or line with parchment, and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. At first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together as you continue to beat at medium speed.
3. Take the dough (it will be somewhat stiff) and press it evenly into the pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips will help with any sticking.
4. Prick the crust all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape and the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles.
5. Bake the crust until it’s lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely.
6. FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER: Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
7. FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER: Melt the milk or dark chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into 2″ x 2″ squares to serve. It’s best to store these bars in the refrigerator.
8. These bars can also be cut and dipped in milk chocolate to resemble Twix ® bars. After the caramel layer has chilled firm, cut down the length of the pan, splitting the bars into two long, narrow bars. Then cut each long strip into “fingers”. Dip the chilled bars into melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set for several hours. [Lightly sprinkle with course sea salt if desired.]
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Take your average rice krispie treat: yeah, it’s good, it’s chewy, it’s reminiscent of childhood… Now, imagine that same rice krispie treat “adult-style” with brown butter and sea salt added in — sooooo much better.  These were so addicting and so good.  They’re SUPER easy, too, taking only a few more minutes than the recipe from the side of the cereal box.

 

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats – Smitten Kitchen

Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan.

Let cool and cut into squares.

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I apologize for not posting in such a long time, I’ve been swamped with schoolwork. With my chemistry exam FINALLY behind me, I am now able to focus some attention on my long-neglected blog and post some long-awaited entries.  My mom asked (begged) me to make these cookies for New Years Eve, but I didn’t want to because I thought they sounded boring.  I wanted to make something showy, not settle for a little cookie.  Needless to say, I was so wrong in my thinking… everyone loved the cookies, especially me.  I guess they say “Mama knows best!” for a reason! These cookies were so simple, and so delicious.  The sweetness of the various fillings was complimented perfectly by the flaky, faintly sweet exterior.

Crescent Jam (or nutella) and Cheese Cookies  – Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 30 cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
7.5 ounces farmer cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling cookies out
1/4 teaspoon salt
Jam or preserves (I used blackberry and apricot jam, and nutella)
Milk, for brushing cookies
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Force cheese through a sieve right onto creamed butter and stir it in. Add the sour cream and vanilla and combine the mixture well. Whisk or sift together flour and salt in a separate bowl and gradually blend it into the cheese mixture. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll one-fourth of the dough out very thinly on a lightly floured surface and chill the remaining dough until it is to be used. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares and put about 1/2 teaspoon jam or preserves in the center of each. Fold the dough in half on the diagonal, pressing firmly down to seal the two sides around the jam. Roll the triangle into crescents, starting at the wide end. Arrange crescents on a baking sheet (they won’t expand terribly much, so just an inch or so between them is fine), brush them lightly with milk and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and dust them with powdered sugar. Continue making cookies in the same manner until all the dough is used.

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