Help! I’m housebound with access to the remnants of two Christmas cookie exchanges covering my dining room table. Oh the catching up I have to do.
I managed to get all this weekend photos up onto my computer. I started at the end of the images, as in most recent, and didn’t make it past this bacon shortbread topped with salted ale caramel and chocolate. Looks like I’ll be doling out a cookie at a time here. As for the photos, I gingerly held the camera close to my waist, aimed at the finished product and hoped for the best. I kind of like them.
Mike made these last night for my CBC segment this morning, which I did from bed, by phone. Last night I hobbled downstairs and sat on a stool (I know, bad idea) and walked Mike through these babies, getting him to cook the bacon and chill the drippings, beat it with butter, add flour and crumbled crispy bacon and pat it into a pan to bake. Then he cooked down the ale and made caramel, at which point I couldn’t stick around any longer and left it in his charge, candy thermometer in hand. He did good. The caramel gets poured over the baked shortbread, and once it cools, topped with melted chocolate. It all isn’t as big a deal as it sounds – and you wind up with a sort of homemade Twix bar, with bacon in the base. (Or not – you can totally leave it out and replace the drippings with more butter.)
And hey, if Mike can make them, so can you.
Bacon Shortbread with Salted Ale (or Stout) Caramel
adapted from Ole & Shaina Olmanson
1 batch bacon shortbread (above)
about half a bottle of ale or stout, divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup or Roger’s golden syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark or semisweet chocolate
Pat the bacon shortbread dough into an 8×8-inch pan and bake at 325F for 30 minutes, until very pale golden around the edges and set. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer 1/2 cup of the ale for about 20 minutes, until it’s reduced by more than half.
In a largish pot (it will bubble up) combine 1/4 cup more of the ale (from the bottle), sugars, butter, cream, syrup and salt over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 244F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the reduced ale and pour over the shortbread base. Let stand or chill until firm.
Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring until melted. Spread over the set caramel and let stand or refrigerate for 10 minutes, until set. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and invert the squares onto a cutting board, then cut into squares or bars with a sharp, heavy knife. Makes about 24 bars.
December 13 2011 08:19 pm | cookies & squares