Ah the holidays. It’s such a great excuse to get baking, right? So many events to bring goodies to and so many reasons to make something a little more special than you favourite everyday cookies or treats. For this month’s Kraft Canada #whatscooking assignment, amongst all the great holiday recipes, I couldn’t go past dessert. When I’m baking for a lot of people, bringing treats to a holiday party (or just to my staffroom, if my colleagues are lucky), I like to make something with a little “wow” factor and I find a triple layer bar will often have that effect. In fact, these type of bars are often not that complicated to put together which makes them all the more appealing for the baker 🙂
I steered clear of more traditional holiday flavours like peppermint and cinnamon and opted to make an elegant shortbread bar filled with caramel and topped with a smooth chocolate ganache. I adapted the original recipe for Chocolate Caramel Squares to include some sea salt (it’s very sweet so the salt helps cut that a little) and replaced the corn syrup in the caramel with golden syrup. I also used a cream and chocolate ganache as opposed to a butter-based chocolate topping.
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 225g cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
- Salted caramel filling
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 can (300 mls) sweetened condensed milk
- 4 tablespoons golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 200g Bakers' semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (60g/ 60 mls) heavy cream
- sea salt, to garnish
- First, make the base.
- Heat oven to 350ºF.
- Line 1 13x9-inch pan with parchment paper, with the ends of parchment extending over sides.
- Process flour, sugar and cinnamon in food processor until blended.
- Add butter; pulse until mixture starts coming together (it will be a little crumbly still).
- Press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- Cool in the pan and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare Filling. Bring all ingredients to boil in a saucepan on medium-high heat, whisking constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes, continuing to str constantly.
- Remove from heat, pour over the cookie base.
- Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
- Now make the topping Boil the cream, pour over chocolate chips and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Using a whisk, slowly begin to incorporate the cream into the chocolate and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the chocolate over the caramel, tilting pan to ensure the caramel is evenly covered.
- Sprinkle some sea salt over the top of the chocolate.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm before removing from the pan by lifting the parchment.
- Cut into small squares (this is very rich!).
I was very pleased with these and my hunch that they needed a little saltiness to balance the sweetness was correct. They are incredibly rich and while I got 40 small bars out of this recipe, you could easily make 80 bite-sized treats. A hint about cutting these – if you do want to cut them fairly small, they benefit from being put back in the fridge mid-way through your cutting. They are so much easier to cut when they are cold. These are a fabulous addition to any holiday dessert table and I can guarantee you will be thanked profusely for making these 😉
Disclosure: As a Kraft Canada #whatscooking contributor, I receive compensation for writing these posts, however, all opinions are 100% my own.
US/ Canadian readers – win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie – ends Wednesday December 18th 2013 at 6pm EST. Enter here.