When I’m arriving at an interview for my research, I like to bring the participant a little something that I made as a thanks for their time. It’s kind of a rule for me. I made the following recipe for a family I interviewed a couple of weekends ago and I was disappointed at how it turned out — I’d appreciate your views on what you think went wrong and how we could make this a super awesome dessert. In light of this being Groundhog Day, I would say this recipe saw its shadow and needs a do-over.
I pulled this out of Esther Brody’s The 250 Best Brownies Bars & Squares, which has also yielded the no-bake peanut butter crunchy squares and the extreme comfort brownies. So I figured this would be another excellent concoction. I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of adding salt, which I never do anyway. And I doubled the recipe, of course. Something, however, went horribly, horribly wrong …
For the Base:
In a bowl, mix together 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
Using your handy-dandy pastry blender (or two knives), cut 6 tablespoons cold butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Bake it in your oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, then place on a rack to cool completely. When I pulled mine out of the oven it was bubbling with butter and not golden at all. I think I would perhaps use less butter. Suggestions?
For the Filling:
In a saucepan over high heat, melt together 3 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup light corn syrup, 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Bring the goo to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes.
For the Topping:
In a double boiler or bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool very slightly and then drizzle over the pecans. Chill until the chocolate is set.
Using the foil as a handle, transfer your chilled squares to a cutting board and cut into squares. My problem here? The darned caramel didn’t set. It got thicker, sure, but still remained steadfastly liquid. What did I do wrong?
The bottom was pretty rubbery, too, which made eating this sweet confection impossible without a jackhammer, but it is definitely worth trying again, because while it didn’t work out the way I had anticipated, at least it wasn’t floor pizza.