B and I stayed up last night to watch the last few episodes of Damages. We seem to have missed it when it debuted on commercial TV here and I’m glad it’s available on DVD. I haven’t been this interested in anything TV has to offer since Entourage. Many years ago, there was Twin Peaks, and Wild Palms, and a few great cartoon/comedies inbetween (yes, there are also the cult classics like A-Team and Knightrider, but those are pretty lightweight in retrospect, don’t you think?). Damages is up there on my list of favourites. But you didn’t really come to here to hear about legal thrillers, did you? You want to know about the Twix…
I had a heck of a time making the caramel for these Twix cookies yesterday. It didn’t help that I started off by misjudging the size of the pot required, so the bubbling caramel overflowed a little. Horrific, when you know what caramel is like once it sets. All over your stove. But I prefer to consider that it was entirely worth it in the end.
I can’t even remember why I wanted to make these in the first place. I’ve always been more of a KitKat girl, even though I love the pairing of chocolate and caramel (especially salted caramel). Is it weird to be thrilled by the idea of being able to duplicate something that is usually manufactured by machines en masse?
This caramel is, aside from the stuff I finally managed to scrape off my stovetop, .. unctuous. Teeth slide into it almost too easily. Like slipping between fresh bedsheets. I like taking a bite, and letting it dissolve in my mouth slowly. It’s an almost MA 15+ experience, if you must know.
Watch Damages. Eat homemade Twix cookies. Just two experiences I wanted to share with you. Neither are life-changing. Life-enhancing, maybe, in the simplest way possible.
Homemade Twix Cookies :
(from Desserts by the Yard, by Sherry Yard)
For the shortbread :
156g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons ground rice [this is not rice flour, but rice processed in a spice grinder. I used almond meal instead]
For the caramel topping :
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate glaze :
170g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place a rack in the lowest position of the oven and preheat to 176′C. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with spray and line with baking paper. Spray the paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the flour and ground rice and allow the dough to come together.
Remove from the bowl and press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and bake for another 8 minutes, until the shortbread is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack to room temperature.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, golden syrup, water and lemon juice. Brush down the inside of the pan with a little water, using your hand to feel for stray granules of sugar. Cover the saucepan and place it over medium heat for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Do not stir from this point on. Keep an eye on the pan. The mixture will be very bubbly. When stray sugar crystals appear on the sides of the pan, brush them down with a clean wet pastry brush. As the sugar cooks, the bubbles will get larger.
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
After 5 to 6 minutes, the sugar will turn golden brown. Insert a candy thermometer and when the temperature reaches 148′C, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1 minute, or until the bubbles subside. Carefully whisk in the heavy cream. Stir until smooth, then whisk in the condensed milk. Whisk until smooth.
Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly over medium heat until the caramel reaches 115′C. Remove from the heat and pour over the shortbread. Allow to set.
Chocolate Glaze :
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour over the caramel and smear evenly. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator until set.
Cut into the desired size and serve. (The cookies will keep, stored airtight, for 1 day).
[I'm dedicating these homemade Twix cookies to Chocolatesuze, because this sort of sugary thing seems right up her alley and also because she got engaged recently. Congrats!]