Suzi's Blog

Easiest Ever Dulce De Leche Bars with Coconut

 

Last week I posted a recipe for dulce de leche swirl congo bars. Fantastic cookies combining the flavor of blondie cookies with chocolate chips and dulce de leche.

Here’s another great idea from Simply Sensational Cookies. These are called Easiest-Ever Dulce de Leche Bars. Why “easiest?” Because amazingly, you don’t use dulce de leche as an ingredient. No you make a shortbread batter, bake it off, then top it with sweetened condensed milk. Pop it back in the oven. The shortbread finishes cooking and that milk is transformed into dulce de leche. Oh, and you top it off with coconut.

It’s really easy. It’s decadently good. If you want to justify making this, get some children. Tell them you are going to demonstrate an important chemical reaction. In goes the shortbread base with condensed milk and out comes dulce de leche. Honestly, I think that’s just the sort of lesson that can trigger a healthy interest in science or cooking.

Or eating.

Easiest-Ever Dulce De Leche Bars

Yield: 24 2” squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Simple Shortbread Bar dough [recipe follows]
  • 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract or coconut extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut

Preparation:

Baking Preliminaries: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, letting the foil slightly overhang on the narrow sides. Lightly grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray.

If the shortbread dough has not been prepared ahead, ready it; press it evenly into the foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the shortbread is tinged with brown and just slightly darker at the edges.

Reset the oven to 325°F.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Evenly pour the mixture over the crust. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake (middle rack) for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling is the color of caramel candies. Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the top. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the coconut is nicely browned and crisp.

Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Using the foil as handles, lift the slab to a cutting board. Carefully peel off and discard the foil.

Cut away the overbaked edges using a large sharp knife. Cut the slab crosswise into sixths and lengthwise into quarters.

Source: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett

Simple Shortbread

Yield: one 9 by 13-inch pan

Ingredients:

  • 13 tablespoons [scant 1 2/3 sticks] butter, unsalted, cool and firm, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more for optional garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 1 ½ cups dulce de leche, room temperature from a 13.4 ounce can or ajar of store-bought dulce de leche or, better, home-made and chilled

Preparation:

Baking Preliminaries: To prepare simple shortbread bars, position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang on the 9-inch sides slightly. Lightly grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray. (If using the dough as a bottom crust for layered bars, after making the dough proceed as directed in the individual recipes — which is what is suggested above for this Easiest Ever cookie).

To make the dough with a mixer, let the butter warm up until just slightly soft. In a large bowl with the mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt just until evenly blended, scraping down the bowl as needed. On low speed, beat in the flour just until the mixture forms a mass. (If the mixer motor labors, stir in the last of the flour a large spoon; or gradually knead it in with your hands.)

If the dough too crumbly to hold together, gradually work in up to 4 teaspoons water until it holds together her smoothly. Press and pat the dough into the pan until evenly thick all over (Laying a sheet of wax paper over t h e surface may make it easier to smooth out t h e dough.) If planning to serve t h e shortbread as a cookie itself, garnish the t op by evenly sprinkling over a little sugar. Bake (middle rack for 23 to 28 minutes or until t h e shortbread is nicely browned all over, perhaps slightly darker at the edges, and just firm when pressed.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool to firm up slightly and cool to warm.

Source: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett

 

 

Dulce De Leche Swirl Congo Bars [Blondies with Attitude]

Dulce de Leche Blondies

 

 

Life evolves. I love my brownies but I am increasingly intrigued by blondies, with that butterscotch flavor that comes from a rich, eggy brown sugar batter.

I still like chocolate. As in chocolate chips.

And I’m now increasing fond of dulce de leche.

So, when I opened up Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett and found all three of them combined, what could I do? I already had a supply of dulce de leche on hand, homemade but of course. I had all the other ingredients just sitting on my kitchen island, so off I went.

As with many of Nancy’s new cookies, this is a one-pot wonder, made with minimum fuss and mess. The recipe does not call for coconut but that would surely be a welcome ingredients, say 1/2 cup.

When I baked, I was by myself, upstate. Suzen was working in the city. I drove back to the city and came into our apartment. I smiled at her and put a piece of paper towel on the kitchen island. Suzen has a very good nose. Beautiful, of course. But also highly functional. She can sniff me out in a flash.

She unfolded the paper towel to reveal one of these cookies. She took a bite and sighed. She had just experienced this rich amalgam of sugar, chocolate, brown sugar, and, of course, the dulce de leche.

“Are there more?” she asked.

“Negotiable,” I said. I meant it.

 

Dulce de Leche Swirl Congo Bars

Yield: 18 2”-by-3” bars

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup [1 ½ sticks] unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup chocolate chips [semisweet, milk, …]
  • 1 cup dulce de leche

Preparation:

Baking Preliminaries: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Generously grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring, until mostly melted and runny. Stir until completely melted and free of lumps, then set aside until cooled to warm. Stir in the sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until well blended. One at a time, vigorously stir in the eggs. Stir in the flour just until evenly incorporated. Fold in the nuts and chocolate morsels until evenly distributed.

Spread a generous half of the mixture evenly in the pan. Put evenly spaced heaping tablespoonfuls of the dulce de leche over the batter. Then drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. Using a table knife held vertically, swirl the two together to produce a slightly rippled effect; don’t blend them too much.

Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Cut lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into sixths (or as desired).

 

 

Source: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett