This week it was my turn to choose the recipe. I am glad that I joined so early, otherwise it would be forever before I would get my turn. Our group is really growing! I had a really hard time deciding because everything in Dorie’s book looks so good. I finally narrowed it down to a brownie, cookie, or some type of bar dessert. I kept coming back to the picture of the Snickery Squares and remembered that it was one of the first recipes to catch my eye when I began to look through this book. So Snickery Squares it was!
Although they didn’t taste like a Snickers bar, they were still delicious. I’m sure my dad would love these and I’ll definitely try to make these next time I’m there for a visit. This was my first experience with dulce de leche. There is only one grocery store in my area that carries it, but I think that next time I will make my own. I really liked the shortbread layer in these and the way the dulce de leche, the caramelized peanuts, and the chocolate went together. It’s a great treat to bring when you have a group of people to bake for. This was my first time caramelizing peanuts, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. It really gave the peanuts a great flavor and was so much better than adding just plain peanuts to the recipe. I made the shortbread layer, let it cool, and then added the dulce de leche and the peanuts and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I made the chocolate layer and added it on top. I think having it chilled made it easier to spread the chocolate layer, so I guess I lucked up when I made that decision =) All in all, this was a great Dorie recipe and one that I’ll be saving. Be sure to check out our Tuesdays With Dorie blog to see how everyone else did with the Snickery Squares.
Next week we’ll be making the Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie Cake, chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits.
For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
For the Filling:
½ cup sugar
3 TBSP water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche
For the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.
To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.
When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.
To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Cut into 16 bars.