Carole notches up the "chocolate factor" creating over 100 recipes with many different types and forms of chocolate. Many of her recipes in her latest book, call for high cacao, high content chocolate, which intensifies chocolate flavor. Written for bakers of all levels, Carole graciously walks us through the different types of chocolate, equipment, and best techniques. Nine different chapters cover every one's chocolate favorite something.
I read Carole's new book, Intensely Chocolate, like a novel, gliding through each chapter, enjoying the fresh and upbeat easy format and size, and relishing all of the mouthwatering photographs.
It was hard to decide which recipe to make first. I decided on "Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bars" in Carole's Cookie Chapter. Coincidentally, she said it is one of her favorite recipes, too. Enjoy!
Milk Chocolate Dulce de Leche Bars
These potent bars have three layers, a coconut and brown sugar crust, a Dulce de Leche (caramel) filling, and a glaze of dark milk chocolate. You can cut these into smaller bite-size pieces, if you like.
Makes 2 ½ dozen 1 x 2 ½-inch bars Special equipment: 9 x 13-inch baking pan
Crust: 4 ounces (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 cup (2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut 1 cup (6 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar 1 cup (4 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
Dulce de Leche filling: 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Glaze: 13 ounces dark milk chocolate (38% to 42% cacao content), finely chopped
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the inside of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, pressing it into the pan, and letting it hang over the short edges.
For the crust, melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat. Place the coconut, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a 2-quart mixing bowl and toss to blend thoroughly. Pour the melted butter into this mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press it in evenly, making sure it reaches into the corners.
Bake the crust for 15 to 18 minutes, until light golden and set. Remove the baking pan from the oven and cool it completely on a rack.
For the Dulce de Leche filling, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the unsalted butter, and the corn syrup in a 2-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it thickens and turns a deep beige color. Pour the filling over the cooled crust, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Return the baking pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the filling begins to bubble. Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
For the glaze, melt the dark milk chocolate in the top of a double boiler over warm water, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Or melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on low power for 30 seconds bursts, stirring between each burst. Remove the top pan or bowl of the double boiler, if using, and wipe it dry.
Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the Dulce de Leche filling and use an offset spatula to quickly spread it evenly. Tap the pan gently on the counter top to release any air bubbles in the chocolate. Chill the pan for 10 minutes to begin to set the chocolate then let it set completely at room temperature.
Lift the bars from the pan by holding the edges of the parchment paper then peel the parchment paper away from the sides of the bars. Use a chef’s knife dipped in hot water and dried to trim off all of the edges. Use a ruler to help measure where to cut and cut into 1 x 2 ½-inch bars, cleaning the knife between each cut.
Serve the bars at room temperature.
Keeping Store the bars in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper at room temperature up to 3 days.
Streamlining The crust and the filling can be baked the day before adding the dark milk chocolate glaze.
Carole Bloom is a personal friend, and an accomplished European-trained pastry chef, confectioner, chocolatier, and best selling author, speaker, and teacher. For more information on Carole, please visit Carole Bloom.
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