It’s been a helluva long week, and I was just dying for something sweet to take the edge off. Something full of chocolate, with a crunch! I knew Dorie’s Snickery Squares would do the trick. Lucky for me, this was the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie, chosen by Erin of Dinner and Desserts.
Bottom layer of buttery, crumbly shortbread, next filled with home-made dulce de leche and candied peanuts (not a big fan of peanuts, but anything candied can’t be too bad!), then topped by velvety smooth chocolate… ooooohhh!! I was drooling just at the thought of the assembly of the deliriously sweet treat.
What I did not anticipate, was the amount of work required into each step. Sure, they all looked simple enough reading, but the actual process of getting the individual layers was not something I had put very much thought into.
The dulce de leche made, all 90 minutes of baking my jar of sweetened condensed milk (great recipe from here, recommended by Madam Chow) consisted of me walking back and forth between my kitchen and loving room. Constantly. I was so worried that it would burn!! I guess that sort of explains my slightly pale dulce de leche. It still tasted sinfully good, though.
The next ‘nightmare’ was tackling the candied peanuts. Caramelising? Yet another pothole. I really should try to be more optimistic. I read, and reread, and read yet again the whole bit about caramelising sugar. When to throw in the nuts, what to do after… and I’m now extremely pleased to know that it’s not all that scary, after all!
All in all, it probably wasn’t all that difficult a task to do, but I wanted to have my snickery squares on the Friday night. Remember the exhausting week? Well, I knew I wasn’t going to get a snickery square that night, so I consoled myself by snacking on my freshly ’baked’ dulce de leche.
Bad move! I realised that I now did not have enough dulche de leche (can you tell I just love saying that? Dulce de leche) for my recipe!! So it was on with whipping up another batch while I started with the base.
Everything proceeded swimmingly after that. Cool the base, scatter the nuts, spread the dulce de leche, pour the chocolate… YUM! I just could not wait. So much so, that I took it out of the fridge 10minutes in, and went for a slice!
It wasn’t pretty. My caramel wasn’t firm yet, and slicing it at this stage made a complete mess. But of my! It tasted divine! Just like a bar of store bought snickers, only better! It tasted like a grown up bar of snickers.
This is one recipe that will be repeated again and again. Give this Dorie Greenspan recipe a try. I promise it is worth all the effort that goes into it!
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Snickery SquaresFor the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 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 temperatureGetting 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.