Saturday, September 27, 2008
Dare to be pretentious. Ignore the peeps who roll their eyes when they hear the title of your dessert. Who cares. Ask yourself these questions. Is the dessert worthy of high praise? Do you deserve to be proud? Did it come out? Did it stand up to its name? Could you make millions of dollars selling it to bakeries? Are people's eyes rolling into their heads in ecstasy instead of just rolling? Not all rolling is bad, ya see.
I dared to be pretentious, making something called Ganache-Filled Brown Sugar Bars. I'm not sure there's a more stuffy-sounding name. But here's the thing: I answer yes to all of the questions above. So I'm keeping the stuffy name!
Ganache-Filled Brown Sugar Bars
Adapted from a recipe by Lori Longbotham in Luscious Chocolate Desserts
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 10 x 15-inch baking sheet. Line the pan with wax paper, then butter and flour the paper and the sides of the pan.
Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating just until well blended. The batter will be fairly stiff.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan with a long metal spatula. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean but not dry; do not overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Bring the cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir for a minute, then take the mixture off the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Transfer the ganache to a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to set; it should be spreadable but not runny.
Cover the baking pan with a large wire rack and invert the pan. Remove the pan and peel off the wax paper. Invert the cake again onto a large cutting board. Cut the cake crosswise in half with a long serrated knife. Spread the ganache evenly on one half of the cake to within 1/8 inch of the edges. Carefully set the other cake half on top, matching the cut edges. Cover and refrigerate until the ganache is set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
To serve, trim the uncut edges of the cake with a long serrated knife. Cut the cake lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 rectangles. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Make the batter for the bars...
Spread the mixture into the pan using an offset spatula...
Bake the bars...
Prepare the ganache...
Cut the baked bars in half...
Spread the ganache on one half, though not completely to the edges...
Place the non-ganache half on top of the ganache half...
Trim the edges so you have nice clean lines, then cut into square or rectangle shapes.