Monday 3 March 2008

Another Tuesday with Dorie

Its amazing how quickly times flies when you are having fun. This past weekend, I was up in Paris again for a short trip with M. In addition to the usual shopping and eating that typically accompanies a trip to the city of lights, M and I also took part in the Paris half marathon on Sunday.

It was my first experience doing a race with 19,000 competitors and of such a distance, and it was absolutely FANTASTIC! First, since we've been logging many 20+km runs in the run-up to the marathon, we weren't at all nervous about this race. Second, seeing that many people run en masse makes you feel like you should run harder and faster. Third, the spectators and bands all along the course yelling out encouragement was even more motivation to do your best. I was extremely happy with my time, coming in almost 10 minutes faster than I had hoped.

It was tough to top the high of the race, but after getting back to London, I got the chance to tackle the next TWD challenge - Snickery Squares! Now, I've had my eye on this recipe for a while but never had an excuse to make it. I wasn't able to find dulce de leche in my neighbourhood grocery store so I ended up making my own. The squares were absolutely delicious and just like Dorie described - sophisticated Snickers bars. If you're a peanut fan, this one's for you!

Snickery Squares

For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.

Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.

When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

Makes 16 squares


noskos said...

Nice looking squares!! And congratulations on your run in Paris!!

M said...

Awesome job on the marathon! I have always wanted to do one.

Your bars look amazing. I thought about making the dulce de leche. What recipe did you use?

Dianne's Dishes said...

Ah Paris! Congrats on your run. Your bars look fabulous! :)

Carrie said...

Your squares look perfect!
Carrie from htt://

Erin said...

Your squares look great! Congrats on your run- that must have been a lot of fun. I'm a runner too and I'm hoping to run my first half marathon in the fall.

Isabelle Lambert said...

Bien réussis tes carrés ! :)

Tristin Choi said...

You go girl!! Sounds like you kicked butt on your run! London, here you come!! =) Those bars look delish. I love snickers. I need to make them....=) Yumyum.

Engineer Baker said...

Congrats on the half! I was planning on one before I got injured :( But hey, what a prize for finishing - your squares look awesome! And a lot less messy than mine...

Mary said...

gorgeous did a really nice job and the pics are great too

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Great job!

Amy said...

Congrats on your finishing the half marathon! If only I could run. But see I have this belief that running is only for those who are being chased with a knife!

Your squares look great!

Jaime said...

wow, i'm impressed you had the time to make these! they look great!

Jhianna said...

Wow, a half marathon! Bars look great, too.

Annemarie said...

Well done on the race - a double indulgence on the snickers bars must have been allowed. They look tear-inducingly wonderful.