How are you? I know, I know... I haven't touched you in, what.... over a month? 4 months, maybe? Give or take? Either way, I know you can't be too thrilled with me. Packing my bags in the middle of the night and leaving you all alone, patiently waiting... and I didn't even leave cake in the fridge. What the heck. I'm awful. I'm not getting any presents for Christmas this year.
It wasn't my fault though! You gotta believe me! Between the whole... you know... broken camera thing... Yeah, I have bad luck with cameras, I know. And I should probably admit that I've kindasortahavehadacameraforafewmonthsnow... I know. I really don't have any excuses other than sheer laziness and... well... I'm pretty picky about my picture quality, here. A 3 megapixel camera won't get you very far these days, you know. I mean, I think the iphone might take better pictures than this one.
That really doesn't make you feel any better though does it? Sorry.
But I came back for you, just like I said I would! I missed you! I missed us! I missed what we had! I baked, took pictures, and you displayed them! And I wrote about life and grandpas and cakes with identity crisis'! It was fantastic. It was awesome.
Could we work it out, you think? Get it back together? I think we can, blog. You and me.... we aren't finished yet. We can do this. I know it in my heart to be true (Sorry to anyone who gets this reference).
Here's my peace offering: Millionaire Bars. A simple dessert with a shortbread crust, caramel on top and some sweet chocolate ganache to tickle your fancy. How can you say no to that, blog? How can you say no?
I say we try again... and this time, I promise I won't leave you home alone without cake for 4+ months. Ever ever. Promise.
(adapted from joy of baking)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk or 1 14-oz can of dulce de leche
6 oz coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Grease a 9x9in. pan with butter or non-stick spray.
For shortbread, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press onto the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale golden in color. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
For caramel filling, if using Dulce de Leche then simply warm the caramel in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. If using sweetened condensed milk, pour the milk into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and cook, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 90 minutes or until the milk has thickened and has turned a caramel color. Remove from heat and beat until smooth. Pour the caramel over the baked shortbread and leave to set.
Note: You can also do this step in a microwave oven. Place the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwaveable bowl and cook on medium power for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Reduce the powder to medium-low and continue to cook for another 8 to 12 minutes, or until the milk has thicken and has turned a light caramel color. Remove from microwave and beat until smooth.
For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter either in the microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel and leave to set. Cut the shortbread into pieces using a sharp knife.
Store the shortbread in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate nice and firm.
Yield: 16 2in. squares.