Saturday, February 17, 2007

Auspicious Beginning.

Millionaire's Shortbread

I suppose every food blog has to begin somewhere, and mine begins with a mess.

The tabletop, floor, and inside of the freezer are splattered with drippings of chocolate ganache. The sink is full of various spoons, knives, and bowls coated with chocolate, dulce de leche, and a fine dusting of shortbread crumbs. The sponge seems to be irreparably soaked with chocolate.

An 8-inch square of Millionaire’s Shortbread, the cause of all this havoc, sits precariously on a rack in the freezer. There are fingerprints in the shiny glaze, and a rather large rip in the upper left corner. For now, I want nothing to do with it; I keep finding chocolate on my forearms and pajamas and I am grumpy.

One of my flamenco teachers says “si no es perfecta, es mierda” (if it’s not perfect it’s shit.) Fortunately, that statement doesn’t apply to baking. I gave up as soon as the dulce de leche wouldn’t spread evenly and ended up full of crumbs. I finished off the dessert as best I could. Even though it was slightly overbaked, messy, and falling apart, the shortbread was delicious.

Millionaire’s Shortbread
adapted from Trish Deseine’s Caramel
1x14oz can of cajeta/dulce de leche*
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup salted butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
¼ cup unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-10 inch rectangular baking pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salted butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, or place in a mixing bowl and use your fingertips to combine as if making pastry.

Form into a dough, then press into the prepared pan. Bake until just golden on top.

Remove from the oven and let cool before spreading on a layer of caramel.

Melt the chocolate and unsalted butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave, and stir well until smooth. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth with an offset spatula or palette knife.

To serve, let harden completely, then cut into squares.

*the original recipe has you make the caramel from a boiled can of sweetened condensed milk. I just bought a can of cajeta. I recommend you heat it up a bit to make it spread easier.


Brittany said...

I'm going to have to try this!

Anonymous said...

You"re amazing...The clarity with which you present your ideas , accompanied by your sense of humor is delightful. I always look for your posts on "picturing food". Thanks for the opportunity to read more abut your cooking experiences. Auntie Lorraine