So, I used to work in an office with co-workers who didn't have four legs and a tail. They could also use their opposable thumbs for composing e-mail and online shopping. Now, I work at home and hang out with my pets and loud neighbors all day and I don't have to participate in conference call meetings.
In my office days, I made it a tradition to bake something special for each colleague's birthday. I'd listen to them describe their favorite dishes or I'd just out right ask them to tell me about their favorite flavor. Then I'd try to create something that I thought they'd enjoy.
One of the birthday treats I count among my successes is the chocolate caramel slice bar cookie I made for Perrin's birthday. Perrin said her favorite flavor was caramel. My favorite flavor is chocolate. What a match we make! I got to see Perrin last night and it just so happens her birthday is this week. I decided to surprise her with a reminder of our fun office days together and make another batch of bar cookies.
Chocolate Caramel Slice (modified from Bon Appetit)
Makes at least 24 bar cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, diced
1 Tbsp ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, diced
2 Tbsp golden syrup (Lyle's Golden Syrup) or dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp whipping cream
Flaked sea salt (Maldon)
For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. You can also use a jellyroll pan.
I used a food processor, but you could use a pastry cutter. Blend flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and pulse until coarse meal forms.
Add the tablespoon of water and the egg yolk.
Blend again until moist clumps form.
Turn out into prepared baking pan and press down dough to form crust along bottom of entire pan. Pierce all over with a fork, this will help keep it flat. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. If the crust bubbles up, you can pierce that section with a fork. Cool completely.
For toppings: Whisk condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, butter melts, and mixture comes to a boil.
Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Continue to boil gently until caramel is thick and temperature registers 225 degrees F, whisking constantly. It will probably take around 5 minutes.
Pour caramel evenly over crust; allow to set and cool for about 15 minutes.
Melt chocolate and cream in microwave or double boiler, stirring ocassionally. Take care not to scorch the chocolate by getting it to hot. Spread chocolate over caramel; sprinkle with sea salt.
Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour, but likely longer. Keep it covered in the refrigerator. It can be made 2 to 3 days ahead. Cut the dessert into bars or squares to serve.
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