THROW LIKE A GIRL: The Thrilling Conclusion

the cookie void

the cookie void

by Deborah

the end of the footballz season has brought a twist ending for me, something any spectator can hope for in an athletic event. my husband has skipped town, but somehow i am watching football without him. by choice. when i don’t have to. perhaps that’s really not totally an unexpected surprise, or a hail mary for the forces of football fandom (which could be more closely found when my husband was making me and my parents watch and we happened to witness the best play in the history of college football). in some ways it’s a return to the beginning of the season, when i had to step up the masculinity to counterbalance my husband’s newfound vegetarianism (in case you are curious, there is no way to search the internet for images of not-so-masculine men that isn’t totally offensive). now i even have to watch the football for him.

but i am also proud to throw like a girl. so instead of cooking to honor my husband and the closest thing he comes to playing sports these days (watching them), i’ll track down some other group of men that i can cook for. and i’ll sneak my way into the room hidden behind a tray of sweetness. my game plan (the season better end with these puns) is to bring the final dessert of this season’s throw like a girl:

espresso caramel squares with dark chocolate
from one girl cookies by dawn casale and david crofton, who run a brooklyn establishment (that nyc reference is for you, TD!) by the same name.

here’s my not at all humorous description of making them for the first time. to see if they’re any good, you’ll have to ask footballz and friendz.

crust
i started by following directions, but i ended up with a bunch of flour that in no way resembled a dough, despite being described as a dough by step 3. so, i did a quick internet search on shortbread, because that’s clearly what this crust is, and found that this generally requires about 2 sticks of butter for the same amount of flour. so i added almost 1/2 stick more. kneading still didn’t turn it into a dough, but pouring into the pyrex allowed me to at least press it into something that looked like a dough. good enough for me. probably in part because of all the extra butter, this took closer to 30 minutes instead of 11 minutes to get to golden brown edges. the other thing to note about how this differs from most shortbread recipes is that they call for creaming the butter (sometimes with the sugar) and then adding the flour, where this is more a pie crust technique. this layer ended up being a bit crumbly for me, so i might substitute it with a favorite shortbread recipe. close enough to preserve the twix-ness of this recipe, but better.

caramel
this is the tempting part – the idea of espresso caramel is super appealing. plus, i still have instant coffee from the last dessert recipe, and here’s another good chance to use it. but caramel can also be tricky – if you don’t get it hot enough, it is generally grainy and too hot hardens it too much. this recipe gives no guidance that you can get from a candy thermometer, so making it was an act of trust that “medium-low” means the same thing to all stove tops. it also doesn’t say how long it should take before boiling. it took me about 15 minutes, and i started on the low side of medium-low and slowly worked my way up close to medium. once it was boiling, i turned it back down quite a bit. i also found that i had to keep stirring most of the time with a whisk to prevent the butter from separating. but my caramel also turned out a bit grainy, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me. except about this: don’t forget to lick the spoon at the end of this phase – the caramel is delicious on its own.

chocolate layer
this is definitely the easiest layer. a microwave step – what?!? is this the early 80s? this is one of the rare occasions where cooking with a microwave is actually fine (unlike, say, when you want to make 101 whole desserts), but i also assume you know how to use a double boiler (or pot and metal bowl) to melt chocolate if you want to be hardcore. or whatever counts as hardcore in the kitchen. i didn’t use white chocolate because it doesn’t taste as good as just bittersweet and i don’t care if these look pretty.

i think they taste pretty darn good. so, with that:
signing off for the season,
the dutiful wife.

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