Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Charming Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Though the recipe for Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars (click for the recipe) was first published in the July issue of Gourmet magazine, these babies are suitable for satisfying treat cravings all year long.
   They will appeal to folks both young and old. I chose to make them for a party I threw for my parents for that very reason.
   In essence, the bars are pieces of shortbread with a caramel-chocolate topping.
   The recipe calls for dulce de leche, which means "milk caramel" in Spanish.
   I have found jarred dulce de leche in a couple of places in the supermarket: With the jams and jellies, and with the ice-cream sundae making supplies alongside other chocolate and caramel sauces.
   Although the recipe says the bars can keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one day, I find they can be refrigerated up to a week and still taste delicious.
   This recipe is easy to make. You don’t even need to haul out a stand or hand mixer for it. However, it does require a shallow 9 to 9½ inch square baking pan and an instant-read thermometer.
   Butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, salt and flour are sifted together in a bowl until a soft dough forms.
   The dough is pressed evenly in the baking pan, pricked all over with a fork, baked, then cooled completely.
   Heavy cream (I used whipping cream) and dulce de leche are brought to a simmer until the dulce de leche has dissolved. Egg yolks are slowly whisked into the hot cream mixture until it registers 170 F on an instant-read thermometer.
   Finely-chopped bittersweet chocolate is whisked in, the mixture is poured over the cooled shortbread and the bars are chilled, uncovered, for at least two hours before serving.

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