Tag Archives: Bars

Millionaires Shortbread

28 Aug

What a crazy month!  I spent most of the time packing, working, and at delicious goodbye events for my roommate.  Hi R!  Last Saturday I moved into my new one bedroom apartment, and a few short days later Mother Nature sent the DC Area an earthquake and then a hurricane.  Hopefully my move and the two natural disasters are unrelated…

The good news is that I’m back in my kitchen (phew), and I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to make while trapped inside on a rainy day.  In fact, I’d even make this on a sunny day.  It’s that good!  In true Imperfectly Delicious fashion, there were a few missteps in the kitchen but the result was still wonderful!

Millionaires Shortbread (adapted from a Claire Robinson recipe)

Shortbread Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Caramel Ingredients:

  • 2 14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter

Chocolate Topping Ingredients:

  • 12 oz (3 bars) of Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate, Maya Gold with spice and orange accents
  • Sprinkle of flaky sea salt

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees on the bake setting.  I tend to be slow in the kitchen, so usually preheat after the receipt is underway, but most of you will want to do this step now.  Then start on the shortbread layer by buttering your choice of either two 8 inch nonstick pans OR one 9 x 13 baking dish.  I used my 9 x 13 dish because it was clean and easy to find in my new kitchen.  Next combine your flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once to get them combined. 
This was when my first error occurred.  As you can see I have a small food processor (4 cups size) and ended up having to make the shortbread in two batches because my food processor runneth over.    
Next add the butter (or half of the butter to half of the mixture if you are like me) and pulse until the ingredients resemble little pea-like balls.  Transfer the “peas” from the food processor and press down into the previously buttered baking dish.  Bake until the edges of the shortbread turn a light golden brown, approximately 20 mins.  The rest of the shortbread will still be pale in color.  Cool for 15 mins and start on the caramel layer.
Now melt 2 tbs of butter over medium low heat and add the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk.  Slowly bring these ingredients to a low boil while stirring the mixture.  Stir continuously for about 20 mins or until the color turns a shade of pale caramel.  I know it’s a long time to stir, but how often do you get to bake AND workout at the same time?  Now that’s my kind of exercise!  Pour caramel sauce over the shortbread and let cool to room temperature.

Now we move onto the chocolate layer.  The original recipe calls for good quality milk chocolate.  I’m not a big fan, so opted for dark chocolate.  Or should I say I accidentally opted for dark chocolate with hints of spice and orange while in the pre-hurricane Whole Foods mayhem.  Chop up the chocolate into small chunks and transfer into a glass bowl.  Melt chocolate in the bowl over a pot of boiling water.  Pour over your caramel layer and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  Let cool for 10 mins before transferring to the fridge.

The end result is decadent and buttery goodness.  Perfect served right from the fridge with a cold glass of milk, and during your movie or tv marathon of choice!

Easy Apricot Oat Bars

12 Apr

I’m a loyal Food Network and Cooking Channel viewer.  And by loyal viewer, I mean a complete junky that spends Saturday mornings flipping between the two to get my fix.  Honestly, I used to watch it every night until Comcast intervened, and decided I shouldn’t have that channel in my bedroom anymore.  You win this battle nemesis. 

Anyway, I love Nigella Lawson’s voice, and the way she describes food as pure poetry.  I love Claire Robinson, and the way she makes everything feel like fun in the kitchen.  But most of all, I want to be Giada de Laurentiis when I grow up.  She seems like a normal person in addition to being an incredibly accomplished and clever chef.  She focuses on simple flavors and recipes that impress without a zillion steps.  Basically if Giada writes it, you can guarantee its delicious.  I found this recipe of hers and had to try it because I’m going through a serious apricot phase. 

Easy Apricot Bars (based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis)

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 (13-ounce) jar apricot jam or preserves
  • 8 dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

Crust ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup honey roasted almonds, coarsely chopped in a food processor
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray (I clearly used the butter spray).  Afterwards, line the bottom and sides of the dish with parchment paper. Spray top of the parchment paper with the cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the apricot jam and the chopped apricots. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Stir in the oats and chopped almonds.  Finally, add the butter, egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated.

Using a fork or clean fingers, lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the pan.

Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake until light golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool for 1 hour if you can wait that long.  Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Giada is a culinary genius and she’s done it again!  These simple and Easy Apricot Oat Bars are delectable.  I guarantee they will be gone in a flash since they are perfect for breakfast, lunch and dessert.  If apricots aren’t your thing (who are you?!), you could substitute raspberry jam.  These bars would probably also be delicious with a baked cinnamon apple filling.  Enjoy!