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Monday, January 18, 2010

Millionaire Bars (aka "Grown-Up Twix Bars")

I'm still baking.  It's hard to stop once I've started.  I had the ingredients on hand and I've had this recipe bookmarked for several, several months.  Besides, it's not too bad if you only eat a tiny smidge and then pass it on.  Ron will be taking 98% of these with him to work tomorrow.

These are pretty good!  Then again, when does anything considered a "baked good" never not taste good?  If you find something, let me know.  However, I doubt I'll be making them again.  There are other goodies to try that turn out much better.

I've been experimenting with everything lately.  Why not try my hand at home-made Twix bars?  There are 3 steps to making the millionaire bars.  It pretty much involves:  1)  making cookies, 2) heating up milk and 3) melting chocolate.  They are called millionaire bars because of their rich flavors.

I decided just to use the short-cut method for step #2 and used store-bought Dulce de Leche.  I initially started with the condensed milk and subsequently realized that it might turn disastrous.  I kept hearing whistles coming from the pot.  No thank you. 

You can find Dulce de Leche at most grocery stores.

Millionaire Bars
adapted from Long Distance Drive who adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients broken into 3 step Instructions

Shortbread Crust:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. 
  3. Add vanilla and salt. 
  4. Stir in the flour just until the dough begins to come together in walnut-sized chunks. 
  5. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. 
  6. Cool completely. 
  7. Begin the filling as soon as the crust goes into the oven.

Caramel Filling:
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (or 1 x 14 oz can of Dulce de Leche)
  1. Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often, 60-90 minutes, until golden brown. 
  2. Alternately, cook the caramel in a double boiler, covered, stirring occasionally (every 15 minutes or so). 
    1. The only difference in the methods is the amount of attention given the caramel and the tools needed.  
  3. When thick and deep golden, spread caramel evenly over cooled crust and refrigerate until caramel is cool and set.
  4. If using Dulce de Leche, once shortbread has cooled, heat the caramel (in microwave or double boiler) and pour it over the cookie base.

Chocolate Topping
  • 6 ounces good-quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacoa - strongly advised to use good chocolate because it is one of the more dominant flavors in the recipe)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Coarse sea salt (optional but recommended)
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter slowly over low heat and spread over the cooled caramel layer. 
  2. Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate. 
  3. Refrigerate until set. 
  4. Slice and enjoy.  Store the bars, covered, in the fridge.

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