Tuesday, March 4, 2008

TWD: Snickery Squares

Thanks to Erin of Dinner and Dessert for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Snickery Squares.  While I'm not usually a big fan of peanuts, I really like Snickers bars, so I was curious to see how this one would turn out.  

All in all, it was an interesting experiment.  The shortbread crust was pretty straightforward, and I like the way it turned out.  I'm not sure how much I like the store-bought dulce de leche that I found--if I do this again, I may have to try making my own, or substitute some other sort of caramel. What really surprised me was how much I like the caramel-coated peanuts. They were easier to make than I expected, and quite addictive to munch on.  =)  I realized tonight when I was looking over the recipe that I messed up on the chocolate glaze.  It says to used 1/2 stick of butter.  For some reason, when I was finishing these up Sunday night, my tired brain read that as a full stick of butter.  They still ended up tasting quite good, but that explains why the top layer was thicker than I expected.  And the increased thickness may be why I was having such a hard time cutting neat squares.  The finished bars are quite rich, so I cut them a bit smaller than the recipe recommended.  

One tip that I can pass along that works well for me...  Instead of buttering the pan, I lined it with non-stick foil, since I figured that the dulce de leche would have a tendency to stick to the pan.  Since I don't have a silicone pan liner, I also put non-stick foil on the baking sheet that I used for the coated peanuts, instead of using parchment.  It worked extremely well.  

Snickery Squares
(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8-inch square pan (I used a Pyrex pan lined with non-stick foil) and put it on a baking sheet (I didn't bother with the 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.  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 (mine took 18 minutes). 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 (I used non-stick foil to line the pan), 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 in 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.  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.

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.


  1. Your squares look so delicious. I forgot to get peanuts and so ended up using pecans for mine. After seeing your peanuts though, I really must go and get some, if only to eat them all caramelized.

  2. Oh...they look fantastic! And how can you go wrong with adding more butter?

  3. thanks for the tip about the foil! Your squares look so yummy. Great job!

  4. Looks great!! Glad you enjoyed this week's recipe :)

  5. That is funny, reading your post just made me realize that i also read it as 1/2 a cup of butter for the topping instead of 1/2 a stick. Ugh! But I would think more butter would aid in softening the topping, making it easier to cut. Mine were anything but! Great job! Thank you for pointing out the error of my ways!

  6. lookin' goood..!!! and one can never o wrong with extra butter... so i guess you'resafe there!

    i too had problems with getting nice, clean slices...

  7. Your squares look great! I think if I make this recipe again, I will line the baking pan with something (foil, parchment) since they were a bit difficult to lift out of the pan. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  8. I had trouble cutting mine too. I cut one for pictures and left the rest in the pan and we just kind of cut jagged pieces out whenever we wanted one.

    They look great though! And the peanuts made me wish I had saved some of my caramelized peanuts to munch on!

  9. They look gooey good to me. I so want to make the peanuts now. Great job!

  10. Looks delicious! I'm glad you liked them!

  11. You did an awesomeness of a job on these. :o)

    Dido on the peanuts. I ate the ones that were supposed finish off the top! LOL

  12. those look excellent! i just made half recipe in a loaf pan--no way i could have all those squares calling out to me from the fridge!

  13. Yum! I agree, the nuts were addictive to munch on!

  14. Good call lining your pan so you could just pull them right out. Makes for a much nicer presentation! It looks like you got your peanuts perfectly caramelized. I struggled with that step a little, but they still tasted good!

  15. The foil idea hit me when I tried to cut the first square and get it out - oops! They look quite tasty though!

  16. great job! these are definitely very rich, but so good! :)

  17. the squares look fabulous! just to pass on a tip for dulce de leche...when i need to make my own for banoffee pie, i buy tins of condensed milk and boil them in a heavy saucepan for 3 hours ( i usually boil as many tins as i can fit in the pan because it takes so long - then you can just store it in the cupboard). the result is a lovely rich, delicious caramel-coloured thick sauce. the taste is delicious!

  18. I was surprised by the peanuts as well - I always ate around those in Cracker Jacks. :)

    Lovely job!

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