Sunday, March 25, 2007

Coconut-Pistachio Shortbread with Caramel and Chocolate

My co-worker, E, was eating a Girl Scout Cookie the other day (the kind with caramel and coconut), and I decided I had to come up with some sort of home made version. I came up with this shortbread awhile ago, and then saw the caramel and chocolate layers in a Donna Hay cookbook. In the end, these bear very little to resemblance to a Girl Scout Cookie, but they are still crunchy and coconutty mixed with chewy and chocolatey, so they managed to satisfy that particular sweet tooth for me.

The Shortbread:

- a generous 1/4 cup of salted pistachios
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted in the oven until golden
- 3/4 cup cold, salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Oven at 300 degrees. 9x9 pan, lightly buttered, and lined with parchment paper (leave overhang for removing bars later - see picture in Lemon Bars post).

Put pistachios into food processor with 1/2 cup of flour and process until the pistachios are finely ground. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix, then scatter butter cubes into mixture. Pulse until mixed and dough begins to come together. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until beginning to brown. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes.

The Caramel:

- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- pinch of salt

Mix over medium heat, stirring non-stop until caramel is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Don't panic when it starts to look a little chunky - just keep stirring and eventually it will became smooth again. Pour over shortbread and quickly spread to cover. Cool, then chill in frig.

The Chocolate:

- 6 ounces chocolate
- 3 tsp vegetable oil

Mix over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour over caramel and quickly spread to cover. Cool, then chill in frig.
Lift bars out of pan with handles. Slice into squares and dispense to friends and co-workers.

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