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March 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Snickery Squares

Tuesdays With Dorie: Snickery Squares

It's Tuesday and you know that that means....Tuesdays with Dorie! This weeks recipe is Snickery Squares and was chosen by Erin of Dinner & Dessert.

When I saw the choice I was thrilled...I mean the title says it all "Snickery" and I had looked at the recipe before and thought it would be excellent, but I have to admit after having made these I wasn't that thrilled. Now don't get me wrong the separate pieces of this recipe were to die for and I wanted to love this recipe I really did, but together it just didn't jell for me.

I loved the crust. It was wonderful. The candied peanuts were excellent. The Dulce de Leche, being caramel, oh my god...to die for! But when the elements all came together it just didn't do it for me. My sister tasted it Sunday night and she felt like the peanuts overpowered the rest of the recipe. They were good alone, but in the mix, she felt that they were just too much.

Overall I'm just not sure myself, but I doubt I'll make this recipe in this form again, but I most definitely see using the various parts again in other things! Plus I had never candied nuts before so that was fun to do as well. It's always fun to learn something new!

What You'll Need for the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

What You'll need for the Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
About 1 1/2 cups store-bought dulce de leche (Note: I couldn't find this anywhere so I just made my own.)

What You'll Need for the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:

Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball. (Note: I burned out the motor of my food processor last week and I'm still trying to decide which one I want to replace it with so I used my stand mixer instead and it worked fine. We won't talk about the fact that the stand mixer is starting to act up too right now. We're just going to ignore that fact and hope it decides to straighten up and fly right! ;o))

Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.

Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:

Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.

Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Snickery Squares: Candied Peanuts

When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.

Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Snickery Squares: Dulce de Leche and Candied Peanut Layer

To Make the Topping:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.

Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Snickery Squares: Done!

Notes: I think that the peanuts would make an excellent topping on vanilla ice cream. The dulce de leche would as well, but not paired with the nuts. The crust was good by itself, but I haven't figured out what I might use it for in the future, but I'll keep thinking about that!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Posted by Dianne at March 4, 2008 7:55 AM

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I made my squares with pecans and they turned out lovely. (I forgot to buy peanuts when I was at the store) Perhaps it was a lucky break for me! I will make these again. YOurs do look lovely though. Sorry they didn't do it for you!

Posted by: Marie at March 4, 2008 8:50 AM

Well, they look wonderful. And that is part of this, some we will like, some we won't.

Posted by: April at March 4, 2008 8:51 AM

PS. I think the crust would be lovely spread with some raspberry jam and topped with a nut streusel and then baked. Then you could drizzle melted milk and white chocolate over the top. Now THAT would definitely be yummy!

Posted by: Marie at March 4, 2008 8:52 AM

Oh pecans would be lovely! I don't think I've met many nuts that I don't like. ;o)

April, you are very right. It was fun anyway and I learned some new tricks so that's always a good thing! :o)

Now that would be interesting...I'm not a fan of raspberries, but you made my mind jump to blueberries and that would be good on this crust too! Thanks for the idea! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 4, 2008 9:02 AM

I see someone followed the recipe and used the right size pan (unlike this baker!) I love those caramelized peanuts! Great job!

Posted by: CB at March 4, 2008 9:54 AM

I totally agree with you--I like the various components a lot more than I liked the final product. The nuts were definitely fun to make, and I've already got plans for variations (mmm... cashews). Your photos look great!

Posted by: Di at March 4, 2008 10:54 AM

Honestly, I always think Dorie recipes fall a little flat, one flavor overwhelms or else the whole thing is too bland. I've made a lot of her stuff and wouldn't make any of them again without major tweaking.

Posted by: rachel at March 4, 2008 11:46 AM

That seems to be a common comment, that the flavors didnt meld. Interesting. They look great though, Fab job!

Posted by: laurie at March 4, 2008 1:16 PM

You know come to think of it I think the other recipes of hers that I have tried I have tweaked, but I tend to do that with most recipes anyway.

I haven't had a chance to peruse the other TWD blogs yet, but it's interesting that I wasn't the only one that thought that way.

Posted by: Dianne at March 4, 2008 1:37 PM

Great job! Your squares looked great...sorry you didn't like the whole combo. I ended up pulling the chocolate layer off mine (I gave up chocolate for Easter) and loved the shortbread with the dulce de leche. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Posted by: Sarah at March 4, 2008 4:10 PM

I felt the same way you did. I loved loved loved(!) the crust and the dolce de leche but the rest was just kinda eh. Your squares look amazing though!

Posted by: Amanda at March 4, 2008 5:46 PM

It's always good to make a recipe your own, and I think your ideas will make it that much tastier next time around - they look amazing as is though!

Posted by: Caitlin at March 4, 2008 8:37 PM

I'm sorry you didn't like how they turned out, but your bars look lovely!

Posted by: Karina at March 4, 2008 8:40 PM

It's always fun to play around with new things. That's the fun of being in the kitchen. :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 4, 2008 8:42 PM

The comment on Dorie's recipes is one I have heard reading other blogs. It will be interesting as we try more..they sure look good in the book!

Posted by: Cheri at March 4, 2008 9:14 PM

Interesting...I think I need to do a little research...

Posted by: Dianne at March 4, 2008 10:02 PM

I'm all for tweaking but I feel like the hallmark of a really good recipe is that you don't have to. Especially when it comes to things like being bland or one flavor over powering another.

Posted by: rachel at March 5, 2008 10:14 AM

That's true. Sadly I don't think you find really great recipes commercially that often.

Posted by: Dianne at March 5, 2008 10:17 AM

i was so happy w/how well the crust came together. i did not use nearly as many nuts as indicated - can't imagine biting into so many nuts!! your squares turned out great; sorry you didn't enjoy the overall taste as much

Posted by: Jaime at March 5, 2008 9:08 PM

That happens I guess. It was a learning experience none the less and that's always a good thing. :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 6, 2008 9:53 AM

What a fantastic use for dulce de leche -- I'm gonna have to make some!

Posted by: Rivka at March 6, 2008 3:24 PM

Hmmm... my husband had pretty much the same reaction. He couldn't stop eating the nuts while I was making it, but just wasn't sure about the finished product. He finished his plate and had another piece the next day though.

Posted by: Jhianna at March 6, 2008 4:04 PM

The dulce de leche really was delicious! I'm so glad I stumbled across that method on your blog. :o)

I never made it back for a second piece. I did pick some of the peanuts off the top though. :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 6, 2008 7:32 PM

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