Monday, November 23, 2009
Salted Butterscotch Shortbread Bars
OK, I'm pretty sure these are my favorite. I know I say that all the time but I really mean it this time. This is a very old fashioned bar with a few adjustments (like the addition of salt) to perk it up a bit.
I tried to use it to bribe PW. All I want is to move into The Lodge. Is that too much to ask?
All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.
Ingredients: 1 1/4 c flour, 3 tbs brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 c butter, 1/4 c butter,, 1/3 cup each of granulated sugar, brown sugar and light-color corn syrup, 1 tbs water, 1/4 tsp table salt, 1/2 c coarsely chopped cashews, 1/4 c whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla. And about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2 inch pan or something kinda sorta like it with foil. I used a 7x11ish pan. Make sure the foil extends over the edges. Now butter that foil!
Lets make the crust. Do not be intimidated by pastry cutters. If I can do this, you can do this.
In a medium bowl mix 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Now cut in 1/2 cup of butter with a pastry blender. I like to cut it into chunks to start with.
Throw the chunks of butter (I like it cold) into the flour mixture and just press away. After a bit it will resemble course crumbs or sand.
Keep going and when it starts to cling together its ready.
Dump into the prepared pan and even out.
Press the mixture with something flat. Like a measuring cup.
This goes into the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Coarsely chop up some cashews. I use an overflowing 1/2 cup of chopped ones. I adore cashews.
Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a heavy medium saucepan. When the butter is melted go ahead and add in the 1/3 cup each of granulated sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup as well as the 1 tablespoon water and the 1/4 teaspoon of table salt. Mix it up and add in the chopped cashews.
Now don't go wandering away. Is there anything shiny by you? If so, please avert your eyes.
We need to bring this to a boil stirring constantly. Once its at a boil, continue stirring often for about 5 minutes. We don't want this practically boiling over or you'll end up with hard candy.
This bar is like me... it doesn't like to be ignored.
We turned the heat down at this point.
Be careful with this stuff if you have kids running around. Boiling sugar is like lava.
Take it off the heat and add the 1/4 cup of whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
How can anything with vanilla and whipping cream be bad?
You'll be drooling by the time you pull the crust from the oven. See those divets. Those are divets of love. They are the impressions the butter leaves as it melts. Much like the impressions it leaves on my thighs.
That is completely untrue. Everyone knows that treats made for other people don't count towards points or fat or calories or carbs or whatever. The same goes for treats received from someone else. Thats the glory of the cookie exchange.
Pour the butterscoth sauce evenly over the baked crust. Put it back into the oven for another 12 minutes.
It'll be bubbly so take it out with caution. If you have kids that won't stop running 'round the oven just tie them to something before you do this. You know, just for a moment.
Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Now we are going to salt it. It needs more salt. Trust me on this.
I used sea salt because of the nice big granuals it has. You could also use kosher salt.
As the bars cool keep an eye on them. We want the top tacky so the salt adheres but not so hot the salt melts.
Just sprinkle the salt evenly over the top. You can ever so gently press it if it isn't sticking quite enough.
Do not use table salt as the granuals are too small and they will just melt right in.
When the bars are completely cool just peel the foil off and cut into squares.
Eat 5 and decide whether or not you want to sprinkle a bit more kosher salt on them. Eat another 2 and decide they are just perfect. Drink a glass of milk and put the plate away.
Casually pass by the kitchen twice more. Smell them. Stack them. Eat one more. Give the rest away immediately.