Sunday, December 15, 2013

40 Recipes | # Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Recipe Source: Pinterest
Made : November 30, 2013

For the shortbread layer:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar

For the caramel layer:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk

For the chocolate layer:
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.  (If the crust puffs up a bit while baking, just gently press it down while it is cooling.)  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the caramel layer, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly.  Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set.  (I chilled at this stage to ensure that the caramel layer would not melt when the warm chocolate was added.)

To make the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour evenly over the caramel layer and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.  Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel.  Chill, covered, until ready to slice and serve.
Thoughts:  These were very time consuming to make.  There was a lot of down time between each layer.  They were also very rich tasting.  And the caramel layer was 5 times thicker than the other layers.  I'm wondering if I didn't make the caramel correctly.

Verdict:  Make again?  No.  Not a fan.  And these were a bit of a let down.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

40 Recipes | # Homemade Thin Mints

Recipe Source:  Pinterest 
Made : November 30, 2013

Ritz Crackers
1 bag of Andes Mint Baking Chips

1.  Melt 1/4 of the Andes Mint at a time.
2.  Dip the crackers and let dry.

Thoughts:  I melted the baking chips on the stove over low heat.  I placed the chocolate covered crackers on waxed paper on a baking sheet.  Then I placed the baking sheet in the freezer to harden the chocolate.  I think next time I would use the reduced fat crackers.  Some of the cookies had a buttery taste.

Verdict:  Make again?  Yes.  Thin Mint cookies are still better, but these are are great when you need a quick fix.  And they are super easy to make.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Go to a Concert

It was the first night of ‘winter weather’ this year.  It was cold and rainy (which turned a little icy) and we had an hour and a half drive ahead of us to go to a concert.  D was supposed to go with me but couldn’t so mom took his place.   She was not happy about driving in the bad weather, so my dad decided he would drive us and hang out in Lawrence while we went to the concert.

When we got ready to leave the house, our car had a nice layer of ice covering it.  Mom and I decided the trip wasn’t worth it, but dad was adamant in going.  So we all hoped into the car and prayed we wouldn’t hit any ice as we drove to Kansas.  But that is the kind of dad I have.  The one that will drive an hour and a half just to wander around a little town and sit at a diner for 3 hours while mom and I go to a concert.  And then drive us back home.  (Mom went to college there and she began dating my dad while she was there so it was fun for them to see how much the town has changed.  And it made the 3 hour wait for my dad a little more bearable.  But still….)

The concert was for Matt Nathanson, one of my favorite singers.  I had seen him in concert 4 times prior to this concert.  When I bought the tickets back in June I had no idea that another one of my favorite singers, Joshua Radin, would be opening.  Double plus!

So, we get to the concert and the opening act, Joshua Radin, was already singing.  He was incredible!  And after he performed he told the audience to come see him at the back table, right where mom and I were standing.  So we hop in line and get a photo with him.  IT.WAS.AWESOME!

A few minutes later, Matt got up on stage and rocked.  Out of all 5 times I’ve seen him perform, this was definitely my favorite.  He sang all my favorite songs and you could tell he was having a lot of fun with our audience.  It was an awesome night!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Go to a Football Game

I know my list said a high school game, but I went to a college football game instead.  It was a big rival game between the college Dakota graduated from and the town we live in.  Dakota’s school won, beating the other school by 30 points!  It was a great game and we had a lot of fun!