Snickery Squares

You know those people who, instead of asking a normal question like “How are you?” try to be edgy or hip or something and ask “What’s Good?” (Usually these people are male, in their early 20s, and haven’t washed their hair for a couple days. Just my experience).
I never know what you’re supposed to say to that. Everything? It’s all good? No matter what, it’s just kind of forced and awkward.

But now I have an answer. These Snickery Squares. The next time someone asks me what’s good, I’ll just wave one of these in his face. These are good.

I’ve had this can of dulce de leche sitting in the cupboard for a few months, but never really felt inspired to crack it open. I’ve never used it before, so I was just expecting caramel sauce, but it’s definitely not that. It’s not as sticky, and it definitely has a flavor reminiscent of sweetened condensed milk. Bridget suggested that I make Snickery Squares, a Dorie Greenspan recipe that has similar flavors to a Snickers Bar. After reading her post about them, I was sold.

I took her suggestions about reducing the sugar in the shortbread and scaling back the peanuts. I didn’t have any salted peanuts, so I just added 1/2 tsp salt to the caramel along with the peanuts and it still tasted really good. The candied peanuts were hard enough to stop eating on their own, but the fully assembled bars were absolutely divine. All the components come together perfectly, and as long as you cut the squares really small, they aren’t too overwhelmingly rich. Which of course means it’s easy to eat way too many of them, which I did.

Recipe:
(adapted from Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, via The Way the Cookie Crumbles”)

crust
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp powdered sugar
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

filling
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup salted peanuts (or 1 cup unsalted peanuts plus 1/2 tsp salt)
1 13.4 ounce can Dulce de Leche

topping
7 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces butter

To make the crust:
Grease an 8″ square pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Toss the sugars, salt, and flour together in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Stir the egg yolk in and mix with a fork just until combined (the dough will be crumbly), then press into the prepared pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake for about 12 minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the edges.
Removed and set aside to cool.

To make the filling:
Put a Silpat on a baking sheet and set aside.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan gently until the sugar dissolves. Let the sugar boil until a bit of brown appears, then stir in the peanuts (and salt, if using unsalted peanuts) and mix well, using a wooden spoon. Once the coating is uniformly caramel-colored, spread the nuts on the Silpat, keeping them from clumping together as much as possible. Let cool, then divide in half. Keep half whole for the filling, and chop the other half to go on top of the chocolate.

Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the cooled shortbread, and sprinkle with the whole peanuts.

To make the topping:
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. When it’s completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the butter, mixing until smooth. Spread evenly over the nuts and dulce de leche, then sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Chill for at least 3 hours before cutting.

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