Saturday, December 11, 2010

Marbled Caramel Chocolate Squares

I made these delicious squares for a Girls’ Night In last year and they were such a hit. I remember having extras in my apartment and a certain curtain roommate of mine could often be found with a spoon in her hand over the pan. They are that delicious. This year, I decided to make it for my first work holiday party.

Side note: Didn’t I tell you? I’m working about one day every week/every other week (we’re still figuring it all out) as an additional counselor at a middle school. I adore it. I’m still subbing as often as I can, but it’s nice to have a school that considers me part of its staff! Hence, after my first day last week, I was invited to the Christmas party. And it was the perfect opportunity to let it be known that I love to bake!

Back to this dessert…it is one of the more time consuming things I make, but only because you have to let each layer cool before moving onto the next. So, I recommend having something to do while you wait for things to cool. I cleaned the kitchen while I waited for the base and went to see a movie while I let the filling chill. I’m far too tempted to just continue baking in the kitchen when things have to cool, so I try to remove myself from the situation all together.

My only complaints are with the look of the topping. I achieved marbled success the first time I made this dessert, but that must have been beginner’s luck. Now, I think that I over think the topping and mess it up. The flavors are there, but the look is not. I didn’t have a skewer, so I used a chopstick instead. It would have been okay, but I underestimated the thickness of the chocolate, and pulled up some of the caramel filling. And then the white chocolate…oh goodness. I heated it too much the first time and it was all chalky and gross. The second batch was smooth, but it hardened so quickly that it was difficult to swirl. On the bright side, when you cut the bar into squares, NO ONE CARES WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

Since this is a deliciously sticky treat, I recommend cutting the pan into nice squares that fit in a paper cupcake liner. This makes it very easy to serve, store, and transport. It was a stroke of inspiration that hit me while preparing for a parent-student conference. Two hours later, I was in the parking lot of the grocery store cutting up the pan and placing each square into a cupcake liner. I probably looked ridiculous, but the dessert was a hit! ENJOY!

Marbled Caramel Chocolate Squares

For the base:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), softened

For the filling:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
½ cup light brown sugar (not packed)
2 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:
3½ oz. semisweet chocolate
3½ oz. milk chocolate
2 oz. white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9” pan. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Work with your hands until the mixture forms a dough.

From breadcrumbs to dough.
Put the dough into the prepared pan and use your hand to cover the base. Then use the back of a spoon to smooth it evenly into the pan.

It was not easy to take a good picture with my left hand, but I managed somehow.
Prick all over with a fork and then bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and very light brown. Set aside and leave in the pan to cool.

Lightly golden brown and anxiously awaiting a caramel filling.
When the base has cooled, begin making the filling. Combine butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk into a sauce pan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.

Also hard: stirring constantly while photographing.
Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture very gently, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and has turned a caramel color. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t burn on the base of the pan, as this will spoil the flavor! Remove from heat.

Pour the caramel filling mixture over the cookie base and spread evenly. Allow the filling to set and leave it until cold.

The caramel filling cools while I go see a movie. :)
Once the filling is cold, make the topping. Melt each type of chocolate separately in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of hot water. Spoon out lines of semisweet and milk chocolate over the caramel filling. Then add small spoonfuls of white chocolate. Use a skewer to create a marbled effect in the chocolate topping. (Be warned: white chocolate hardens and sets much faster than the other two, so you must work quickly and carefully to achieve a pretty marbled topping.)

It's messy; it's delicious; it's perfect.
Finally, cut the pan into squares and place each square in a paper cupcake liner to serve and store easily.

Perfect for sharing!!
Hope you enjoyed this recipe! I got it from "The Cookie and Biscuit Bible" by Catherine Atkinson.
<3 Buttercup

1 comment:

  1. Uh, Megan? How did I not know about this blog?! It's amazing!
    Glad to see you're sharing your talents with the world... you really are really talented. :)
    I might try one of these recipes over break! Or better yet, we should get together and you can teach me a thing or two, scratch that, you can teach me 100 or 200 things about baking. =D


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