Do you all have a mental image of me? I know that I form a picture of each of you in my head as time goes by, based only on the food you make and your style of writing (and perhaps, say, a photo you've posted of yourself).
I suspect that I'm way off-base with the majority of you and you actually look nothing like the person I see in my mind. I think that's part of the fun--I could pass you on the street (if I did, in fact, ever walk down a street) and not have any idea. Further, as most of us do, I look different than I did three years ago when I started this blog.
Speaking of things that change in appearance (how's that for a segue?!), let's talk about these bars. They're composed of three separate layers, but as they bake, the compositions of those layers change. The shortbread cookie crust stays the same, of course, but what begin as separate chocolate truffle and caramel-oat-pecan layers eventually become a chocolate-caramel truffle layer topped with oats and pecans. Sinking caramel! What fun! Good, clean, wholesome fun!
I make a lot of bar cookies, and I'm very comfortable saying that these are the tastiest ones I've done to date. The buttery base, the smooth and rich chocolate-caramel filling, and the crunchy, nutty topping all play together very nicely, and they really live up to their distinctive (and totally random) name.
So tell me, folks--what do you think I look like? If someone comes really close, I might be inspired to reward her! Those of you who actually know me need not apply. :)
Serendipity Deluxe Bars
(from A Passion for Baking, by Marcy Goldman)
1 cup butter, cold and diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 cup oats
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely ground
3/4 cup (6 oz) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9-inch pan.
To prepare the crust, combine all four ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs are created. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by microwaving together the corn syrup and chocolate chips, stopping to stir occasionally until the chips have melted. Let cool, then add the remaining filling ingredients and beat to combine. Pour over the hot crust and bake for 27 minutes, or until the outer edges are firm and the center is only slightly jiggly.
While the filling bakes, prepare the caramel layer by stirring together all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. When the pan is deemed ready to remove from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes before dolloping on the caramel layer and spreading it evenly over the chocolate layer. Then return the pan to the oven for another 25-35 minutes, or until the bars are just set. Let cool completely before cutting.