Cookies…Continued: Millionaire’s Shortbread
Cookies…continued. We are tapping the season for all it’s worth, even if we’re staying home.
Millionaire’s Shortbread from AmericasTestKitchen.com is my 15-year-old nephew Ben’s favorite cookie. This says a lot, because Ben can cook. He was a Texas finalist in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest sponsored by Michelle Obama and Epicurious. In Texas, Ben came in second only to falafel. Appropriately, Ben’s household has since banned falafel.
Ben’s take on Millionaire’s Shortbread is that these cookies are “life-changing, but only at room temperature.” A little tip for us all.
Millionaire’s Shortbread combines a shortbread base with a caramel layer and a layer of chocolate. America’s Test Kitchen suggests using bittersweet chocolate, but we used milk. All the better to make them taste more like a homemade Twix bar. We also used chocolate chips, where America’s Test Kitchen uses chopped chocolate, because it’s what we had. Finally, we cut the bars into 1-inch-by-1-inch squares instead of long Twix-like bars.
After making these cookies, we absolutely understand where Ben is coming from. They are amazing. So much so that we immediately looked at each other and decided we needed to get those cookies out of our house fast. Willpower is futile.
For the crust:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup corn syrup
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
For the chocolate layer:
8 ounces milk chocolate chips
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with 2 long sheets of foil, laid perpendicular to each other in the pan. Push the foil into the corners and up the sides of the pan, smoothing it flush to the pan.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula until the flour is evenly moistened. Crumble the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan, then use your fingertips and the palm of your hand to press and smooth the dough into even thickness. With a fork, pierce the dough at 1-inch intervals. Bake until light golden brown and firm to touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Using a sturdy metal spatula, press on the entire surface of the shortbread to compress it (this will make the finished bars easier to cut). Cool the crust until it is just warm, about 20 minutes.
To make the filling: Stir all the filling ingredients together in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture registers between 236 and 239 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 16 to 20 minutes. Pour the caramel over the crust and spread it to even thickness. Let cool completely, about 1 ½ hours.
To make the chocolate layer: Microwave the chocolate chips in a bowl at 50 percent power, stirring every 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted but not much warmer than body temperature, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the chocolate evenly over the surface of the caramel. Refrigerate until the chocolate is just set, about 10 minutes.
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