Dessert Week · Season 2

Bar Cookies!

This next challenge is “tray bakes” aka bar cookies!  I have two things that make this perfect timing.  First, I’m having some friends over this weekend that can help me eat up the goodies.  Secondly, a couple weeks ago, I displayed my art stuff at an event at a community college (for a private event–not college-related).  Some of the high-ranking artisans brought little gifties for people who inspire them, and one particular artisan has been following my baking adventures had brought me a can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup!   Said she is challenging me to make Millionaire’s Shortbread (because it’s so RICH…).  Well, that’s a tray bake!  Serendipity.


I used the recipe (halved, of course) of the shortbread I made for the s’mores bake.  2 sticks of butter, 1/2 c. sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 1/2 cups of flour.  This is actually 1/2 cup more than the recipe called for, but it seemed too wet, so I added a bit more. I spread it into a glass (Pyrex) 8 x 8 baking dish, lined with parchment paper.  Baked for 10 minutes at 350, then reduced the temp to 300 and baked for another 40 minutes.

I gathered up the ingredients for the caramel and put it in a pan to heat up.  It was made from sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, brown sugar and a few other things…it was easier than making caramel from scratch, but I’m thinking that honest-to-goodness caramel sauce might be better.  Next time.  I put the stove on medium and heated it slowly.  It says to bring it to a boil (225 degrees) until it thickens.  I got it only as high as 218, I think–it just wouldn’t get any hotter on the thermometer, so I set that aside and just went by feel, boiling it for another minute or so, stirring constantly.

After that, I poured it over the top of the shortbread (that was still pretty warm, so we’ll see how that comes out; the directions didn’t say to cool completely before adding the caramel).  Smooth out the caramel and tuck it into the corners.  Allow to set while you make the ganache.

The ganache is also pretty simple–225 ml cream, 50 g. butter and 425 g. chocolate bits.  I would not recommend using chocolate chips–they kind of have a waxy flavor.  I get “melties” from Winco in the bulk bins, which melt beautifully and taste lovely.  There are three different kinds–milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and … something else.  I get the middle one.  Put the cream and butter into a pan and bring to *just* boiling, then take it off the heat.  Dump the chocolate in and stir until it’s smooth.  The heat of the cream will melt the chocolate and won’t burn it.  Pour it over the caramel layer.

Now you’ll have 3 distinct layers of goodness…

…even if you can’t see it very well through the pink Pyrex that I got for my wedding 24 years ago.  I thought about getting a new clear glass pan, but couldn’t justify buying something new when the old one is perfectly good.

After I poured it, without using a spatula, I had some left in the pan.  Well, it seemed a shame to waste it, so I found a single Walker’s Shortbread cookie left in the package and dunked it in the bowl of the leftovers.  Waste not….

I will have to post a picture of the tray bake tomorrow when the Patchwork Pirates invade the house.

The verdict:  use a larger pan.  Double the amount of shortbread so you maintain a good, thick layer of cookie, but keep the caramel and chocolate quantity the same, which will create thinner layers on top.  Still…spectacularly good!  10/10.  Will make again!

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