These cookies were selected for the Tuesdays with Dorie group long before I joined, but they looked so good that I’ve had them on my list of cookies to make for a long time. They have all the flavors of a Snickers candy bar: chocolate, caramel, peanuts. All that over a cookie base, how could you go wrong?
The main component of the filling is dulce de leche, which is a very thick caramel topping. I have used this before in another recipe for sandwich cookies, but for some reason this time I had trouble finding it in the grocery store. I had picked up some regular caramel topping, but decided that it would be too thin to work in cookies. Luckily I was out with a friend and we stopped by Williams Sonoma and they had the stuff I needed.
The components of this cookie aren’t too complex, but there are a lot of steps. Probably the most complex thing that you have to do is caramelize the peanuts. I’ve caramelized things before, but you still have to be careful and make sure you don’t burn the caramel. The mixture can go from golden brown to burnt in no time. Luckily I didn’t have that problem. I did have one or two peanuts that got a little burned, but I just took those out and threw them away. Burnt peanuts don’t taste very good.
I allowed these to cool overnight in the refrigerator, which maybe was my problem. These cookies proved impossible to cut. With the hardened chocolate on the top and the soft caramel underneath, there was no way that these were going to get cut without the caramel squishing out all over. Looking at the picture in the cookbook, it looks like my chocolate topping is about twice as thick, which would make it more difficult to work with. I was able to get a few pieces out, but they were really, really sticky and messy. They do taste really good; I love all of the flavors together. Maybe if I had cut the bars right away it would have worked better.
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 cups salted peanuts
1-1/2 cups store bought dulce de leche
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
½ stick butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Put the flour, sugar, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the dough forms clumps, but stop before the dough comes together in a ball. Press the dough into the buttered pan and press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a folk all over. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to take on a little color around the edges. Cool to room temperature.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar and water. Stir the mixture, over medium high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to color, add the peanuts and continue to stir over medium high heat until the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber colored caramel. Spread the peanut mixture on the prepared baking sheet, ad thinly as possible. Once the nuts have cooled to room temperature, finely chop half of the nuts and keep the other half of the nuts in whole pieces.
Spread the dulce de leche over the baked crust and then top with the whole caramelized nuts.
To make the topping, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the butter, mixing until the butter is fully blended into the chocolate. Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche and smooth with a spatula. Top the chocolate with the chopped peanuts. Cool for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator before cutting into bars.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan