Saturday, March 1, 2014

Billionaire Bars

I am not typically an advocate for three-bite desserts. However, today I make an exception.

I was thumbing through the latest issue of Food and Wine Magazine last weekend at work when I stumbled across the Billionaire Bar. I had to make them.

A cornmeal shortbread crust lends crunch, salted caramel gives tang and ganache makes the world go round. Or something like that.

It may seem like a long recipe/process but the end result is worth it. These three layers pack a flavor punch so my advice: cut these bars small. I think that is the first time I have written/believed that.

Billionaire Bars (Chocolate&Caramel Shortbread)
makes an 8x8" pan

1 stick butter, cold & cubed
3/4 c AP flour
1/4 c cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3c sugar
- - -
1.  Line a square 8x8" pan with aluminum foil allowing a 2" overhang on all sides and mist with baking spray; pre-heat oven to 350F

2. Make your crust dough: combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; add butter and mix on medium-medium high until dough goes from sandy to crumbly (all the butter will be incorporated and it will begin to clump together... this is when you stop mixing)

3. Press crust dough into an even layer in the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 25 minutes; cool completely

1 stick butter
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- - -
While crust cools, make your caramel

4. In a small saucepan melt together butter, cream and salt; set aside

5. In another small saucepan, combine water, sugar and lemon juice; stir until sugar is evenly moistened

6. Heat sugar mixture on high (not stirring) until it turns a deep amber color; if sugar crystals form along the edge of the pot during this process, use a wet pastry brush to dissolve them

7. Once the sugar is a deep amber, remove the pot from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture; WARNING it is important that you slowly add the cream into the sugar because it will froth and bubble a lot as you do so

8. Return the pot to the stove and cook over high heat until caramel reaches 230F

9. Remove pot from heat and strain caramel through a fine mesh sieve over cooled shortbread crust; refrigerate 2 hours or until completely cooled and set

5 oz heavy cream
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chips or chopped
- - -
Once caramel is set and cooled completely, make the finaol layer: ganache

10. In a small saucepan heat cream until it simmers

11. Place chocolate into a medium bowl and pour simmering cream over it; allow this mixture to sit for 3 minutes then whisk until smooth

12. Pour the warm ganache into the pan over the caramel layer; chill until set (about 2 hours)

13. Using the foil overhang, remove the bars from the pan; carefully peel off foil from sides and bottom of bars

14. Slice and enjoy!

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