I saw a recipe for Billionaire Bars some time ago on Brown Eyed Baker and was eagerly awaiting a reason to whip up a batch. My daughter who is away at college called at the last minute this week and told me she was coming home on Friday for a visit. Bingo, I had a reason.
After reading the recipe something caught my eye immediately, the recipe called for packaged caramels. I haven't eaten one of those things since I was a kid, plus I was being a tightwad and didn't want to go to the store for one more thing (besides I seriously doubt Billionaires got to be Billionaires by squandering their money).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with no-stick spray. The original version calls for parchment but I was out and spray works fine (that's another 29 cents I'll be adding to my billionaire fund, thank you very much).
I think the less the butter is processed for shortbread the more tender it is, so I went with the food processor method. Place the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and flour in a food processor and pulse until it is in small crumbs and barely sticking together.
Press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your fingers. Use a fork and poke shallow holes into the dough. Bake 18-22 minutes or until edges are golden. Set aside to cool.
Salted Caramel Layer:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch flake sea salt
Add sugar and water to a small heavy skillet, heat on medium high heat until rapidly bubbling away. Leave undisturbed until the edges of the caramel start to turn amber in color, turn off the heat and add the cream and salt and whisk until the caramel comes back together. You may have to turn the heat back on for a minute if the caramel isn't really smooth. Pour the caramel over the crust, tilt the pan to spread out and place in the fridge.
I know making caramel can be intimidating; if it doesn't sound like your thing, feel free to try the original version it calls for packaged caramels melted.
Cookie Dough Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add cream and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour and salt, mixing until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Use a small spatula to spread cookie dough evenly on top of caramel layer. Place in refrigerator while making the ganache.
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream, heated until bubbles form around the edges
Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot cream over it and whisk until the chocolate is smooth. Pour ganache over the top of the cookie dough layer and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes or so until the bars are set.
Cut into squares in the pan. The original recipes says if you put the parchment up the sides you can pull the bars out and cut them, I will have to try that next time although, mine weren't difficult to get out.
So with a few tweaks here and there I can say with confidence I'm pretty sure a billionaire wouldn't mind eating these. I'm only speculating on that point but the Dollar-aires I'm usually in the company of ate the heck out of them. My daughter brought home a few friends with her and these bars went fast.
Fine, quit twisting my arm, I'll fess up and tell you the truth - I'm a caramel snob, there you have it, yep it's true. I've had wonderful too die for caramels and I could never go back to eating those hard ones in the package; please don't hate me.
Foodbuzz Festival 2012 highlights:
Regardless of the fact Foodbuzz is now Federated Media or whether or not we are still featured publishers; we are still a community of like-minded individuals and we still need to support each other. Besides the good Karma you are going to get back in return for being a good member of the community, you are helping support folks that are bringing us quality content and the majority of them are doing it on a negative income level.
I felt lucky to meet Gerry - Foodness Gracious. He not only traveled to be with us, he also kindly gave all the attendees samples of his new TootSweet Caramels he is launching on Etsy. Maybe you read earlier in this post that I'm not easily impressed by caramels, well his had me in their clutches as soon as I untwisted the wrapped and the rosemary perfume climbed up into my nostrils. It had a perfect chewy bite and the pistachios and sea salt took the edge off the cloying sweetness caramels sometimes have. I'd have payed for them and I mean it.
I'm glad I was able to meet Greg - Sippity Sup. He is so charming and knowledgeable I might add. I was standing in front of the Alaska Seafood demo mesmerized by Chef John filleting a salmon when Greg offered me all sorts of fish facts. I also got to hear about the book he has been working on for the last year which I can't wait to check out. It's a book about savory pies, and the preview on his site sure does look tasty.
It was great seeing old friends and making new ones. Sorry if I didn't get to everyone, there is never enough time at these events it seems.
A special thank you to Patty - Patty's Food and Azmina - Lawyer Loves Lunch, these two always make me smile and laugh. Also it was wonderful meeting Wendy - The Weekend Gourmet in real life, she is a doll. Happy to have found Marlene - Nosh My Way who doesn't live far from me at all. Enjoyed sharing a wonderful dinner with Rachel - MuffinEgg and Jennie - Frolic and Detour new friends I hope to get to know better.