A tasty two-fer with one basic dough

By on December 24, 2011

My present for our readers is Twelve Days of Christmas Baking. Each installment, I’ll be offering you a favorite recipe to try for your own Christmas baking.

You’re in for a treat on this Twelfth Day Of Christmas Baking. We’re taking out two partridges with one stone, so to speak.

My offerings today are both based on one basic butter dough. After that, these go in two directions. One rich crust is topped with a dense chocolate and nut brownie. The other is pleased to have a caramel pecan crown. You can’t go wrong with either one.

Basic Butter Dough
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. 3 minutes for a standing mixer. 6 minutes for handheld. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan, then line with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang on both ends. Butter foil. Evenly press dough into prepared pans using plastic wrap on top to keep dough from sticking to your fingers. Chill dough until ready to continue. This will be the base of two different cookies-a chocolate one and a caramel pecan one.

Chocolate Squares

Heat oven to 375°.

For crust:
1 Basic Butter Dough, pressed in prepared 9 x 13 pan and chilled for at least 30 minutes
Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool crust on rack about 20 minutes.
Leave oven on. While the crust cools make brownie filling.

For brownie filling:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
10 ½ oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup flour
¼ cup plus 2 TB Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ cup toasted pecans, cooled and chopped

Melt butter and chocolate and brown sugar in heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs and vanilla. Combine well. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir in nuts.
Spread brownie batter over cooled crust and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours.

Run a heavy knife under hot water, wipe dry, then cut into squares.

Caramel Pecan Cookies

Heat oven to 375°.

For crust:
1 Basic Butter Dough, pressed in prepared 9 x 13 pan and chilled for at least 30 minutes
Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool crust on rack about 20 minutes.
Leave oven on. While the crust cools, make the caramel pecan topping.

Caramel Pecan Topping:
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled, and chopped

Cook sugar in heavy 2 ½ to 3 quart heavy sauce pan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it starts to melt. Be patient. It eventually happens, but you need to sort of hover over this. Caramel can go from beautiful to burned in a heartbeat. When the caramel starts to melt, continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until melted sugar is a lovely deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully pour in cream. The caramel will harden and steam vigorously. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, salt, and pecans.

Immediately spread topping over cooled crust and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours.

Run a knife under hot water, wipe dry, and cut into triangles or squares.

Previous Days of Christmas:
Day 1: Sweet holiday gifts from the oven »
Day 2: An intense chocolate rush »
Day 3: Great neighbors, great cookies »
Day 4: Raising the nutty bar to new heights »
Day 5: These buckeyes are irresistible and easy »
Day 6: Mounds of sweet Christmas joy »
Day 7: Macaroons with a holiday zing »
Day 8: A tart complement to sweet gifts »
Day 9: Two takes on toffee bars »
Day 10: Meringue kisses are deliciously light »
Day 11: Biscotti tailor made for Christmas »

See more at Kitchens Are Monkey Business »

GO TO HOME PAGE »


Recent posts in this category

Recent posts in this category

Comments are closed.