When our college students returned to school, the Sunday school hosted a welcome back spaghetti lunch (eww...not a big fan!) and I offered to make spaghetti and a dessert. For the dessert, I decided to make something different because I knew that there would be a lot of chocolate chip cookies and brownies (which seemed to be the popular thing to bring). I went thumbing through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours. Finally, I settled on what she calls "Snickery Squares." After making these, I think they are really more like Twix (with the addition of peanuts). Now, these bars are supposed to have a layer of caramel between the shortbread crust and the chocolate on top. Ummm...so, I didn't realize that dulce de leche is different from caramel sauce. Let me tell you...IT IS!!!! I basically had a soup of caramel. I put the bars in the refrigerator and it solidified some but after I cut the bars the caramel very quickly ran out. Even with this mistake...totally on my part!...the bars were delicious! I loved how the caramel kind of soaked into the shortbread. I could just eat the shortbread with caramel and be happy. YUM! I would make these again but get the right product for the caramel next time...or do that trick with sweetened condensed milk. Isn't there some way to cook it and make dulce de leche? I doubled the recipe and it seemed to work well. Anyway, with Halloween coming up, make your own candy with this recipe...Snickers or Twix...it's good. :-) Snickery Squares from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 T confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk (I may not have used this...don't remember!)
1/3 cup sugar
3 T water
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1 1/2 cups store-bought dulce de leche (oops... I used caramel)
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet chips)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temp
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare an 8-inch pan. For crust toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor. toss in cold butter pieces and pulse until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Pour the yollk over the ingredients and pulse until clumps are formed. Turn into the prepared pan and press over the bottom of the pan. Prick with a fork and place pan into the oven, bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. For the filling you will candy the peanuts first. To do this, put the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook while stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until it just starts to color (high heat). Toss in peanuts and start stirring right away. Stir until the peanuts are coated and begin to turn white and then turn amber colored. Remove from heat and pour over a silicone liner or parchment paper. Cool. When cool, break into small pieces. Spread the dulce de leche over teh shortbread base and sprinkle over half of the candied nuts.
For the topping melt the chocolate in a bowl (I used a microwave). When melted, gently stir in the butter until fully blended. Pour over the dulce de leche and smooth with an icing spatula. Then sprinkle the other half of nuts (finely chopped) over the top. Refrigerate about 20 minutes. May serve cold after refrigerating for 3 hours.