Thousand Dollar Bars
Have you seen the homemade Twix bar recipe all over pinterest?! I have accidentally pinned it several times... The original recipe is for thousand dollar bars from King Arthur Flour. And they are better than a Twix in my opinion. I took these to a friend's family cookout and all his sisters said there were like a Rolo with shortbread on the bottom. Recipe below is directly from their site with my thoughts interjected every so often.
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional)
FOR THE CRUST:
1) Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan lightly with cooking spray, or line with parchment, and set aside. (I used foil, totally not necessary. When I make these next time I am just going to spray my pan)
2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. At first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together as you continue to beat at medium speed.
3) Take the dough (it will be somewhat stiff) and press it evenly into the pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips will help with any sticking.
4) Prick the crust all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape and the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles. (Not part of the original instructions, but I sprinkled my crust with cinnamon. I was in a fall mood and cinnamon shortbread sounded super fab)
5) Bake the crust until it's lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely.
FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER:
6) Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER:
7) Melt the milk or dark chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into 2" x 2" squares to serve. It's best to store these bars in the refrigerator. (I cheated... I used the microwave to melt my chocolate. I was in a rush, makes it acceptable right?)
8) These bars can also be cut and dipped in milk chocolate to resemble Twix bars. After the caramel layer has chilled firm, cut down the length of the pan, splitting the bars into two long, narrow bars. Then cut each long strip into "fingers". Dip the chilled bars into melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set for several hours.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
I have seen a version using 2 - 8" x 8" pans which I think I will try next time (... I just need another 8" x 8" pan). While I really liked these I think I would have liked them better if the layers were thinner, which maybe then my shortbread would of had more of a crunch. Next time as well I will make my own caramel for the middle layer. Possibly this recipe. This is also not the 'oh I need to make something up real quick to take to an event' sort of dessert, those cooling times do take awhile. Do make these, but don't plan on having them done in 2 hours (or even 3).