Salted Caramel Butter Bars

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These don’t even need words. You just need to make them. Right. Now.

Recipe unabashedly stolen from Cookies and Cups.

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For the Crust:
1 lb. salted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
1/3 cup milk or cream
0.5 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt

To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Chill remaining dough.
Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approximately 20 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes.

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling:
Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream or milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted (they won’t be), microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle salt on top of caramel layer.

Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.
Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

So. Good. My friends request these almost daily. Just make them. There are no words.

I make naan.

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I love naan. Love it. It’s my favorite part of the Indian food experience. Hot, fresh, preferably garlicy… one of the best things in the world.

I’ve made naan before. I’m not an expert, or anything, but I’ve tried several recipes and methods. And they’re all generally a pain in the ass. Why? Kneading. I hate kneading. I don’t know what it is… maybe that it’s tedious and exhausting and… just… ugh. Do not like.

Enter the KitchenAid. I was gifted one for Christmas, and it’s basically the best thing on the planet. And it makes naan (among many other things) about a billion times easier. The dough hook does all the kneading for me! Just set the timer and let it rip.

The recipe that’s closest to my favorite is this one. Being me, I make some changes. Here’s what I do:

First, I proof the yeast. I combine 1 Tbsp yeast, 1/4 cup of white sugar, and 1 cup of warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it’s nice and foamy. Then I put the mixture in the bowl of my mixer and add:

3 Tbsp milk

1 egg

2 tsp salt

3.5 cups all-purpose flour

I mix it together by hand for a minute or so until the flour is moist. Then I pop the dough hook on the mixer and let it knead for about 8 minutes. At this point, I took the lazy route and lifted the dough ball off the mixing bowl, sprayed the bowl with olive oil cooking spray, plopped the dough ball back into the mixing bowl, and covered with a damp cloth. Let it rise for 1-2 hours, then punch it down and knead in some minced garlic. The recipe linked above calls for 2 tsp, but that’s not nearly enough. I use about 4x that much because I LOVE garlic.

This is the fun part where you get your hands messy. Pinch off golf-ball sized pieces of dough, roll them in your hands, and place them on a greased baking sheet (or tray or whatever – you’re not actually going to bake them). Cover with a damp cloth and let them rise for about an hour (the recipe says 30 minutes, but I don’t think that’s long enough), until they are doubled in size.

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After they’ve risen, you’re ready to grill. I use an enameled cast iron grill pan, but you can use a griddle (an electric griddle works well), an outdoor grill, an open George Foreman grill, or just a skillet (I’ve tried all of these methods, with varying levels of success). Preheat your grill (not too hot!) and oil it. Flatten your dough balls into disks, and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. Brush with some melted butter (or, better yet, melted garlic butter), and you’ve got hot, delicious, naan. It’s also great garnished with cilantro (I didn’t do it last night because I have a cilantro sensitivity in the group).

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Serve with curry or kabobs or… well, anything. I’ll just eat it plain.

Pictured here are the only two pieces left out of the 30 or so that I made. For 4 people. That’s how good it is.