While being a pastry chef is a job I love very much, sometimes at work I'm not able to do the same things I would like to do. I make things for teenagers and while those kids have some pretty mature palettes, sometimes its not as mature as I would like!!
Last fall I found this recipe on Recipe Girl that I was dying to try and didn't get the chance until about two weeks ago!! I was visiting my mom in Spokane, Washington and she had asked me to make something with apples in it for my grandfather for Father's Day! I obliged with the Dulce de Leche Bars and I left the day they were made.
Today I decided I was going to make them at home finally!! My husband works for a trucking company and they are very delighted when I decide to back! They are usually the ones that end up with the bulk of it as I try and keep it out of the house!
As I said before, I got this recipe from Recipe Girl, a girls got to give credit, when credit is due and let me tell you this one is noteworthy! I think I could eat a bowl of the browned butter icing all by itself and I'm not really much of a frosting fan anymore! There are a few of my own adaptations, such as I use homemade dulce de leche and used more apples. These are super easy and have a big wow factor to the finished product! So make these if you are trying to impress your mother in law!!
Without further ado! I bring you Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing!
9X9 inch square baking pan
A couple mixing bowls or your kitchen aid with bowl and beater blade
Dulce de leche pre-made, if you can't find it in the ethic foods at your local grocer you may want to try the local hispanic grocery store, they will no doubt have it! If not, Alton Brown has a pretty good recipe for it.
Ingredients for the Bars:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1 cup pack light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium size apples, peeled and chopped.
1/2 cup dulce de leche (I used one gala and one golden delicious, but I think it would be good with any variety)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Homemade Dulce de Leche:
Let's get crackin!!
First things first, you are going to want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease the 9X9 inch pan. I use the heavy glass pyrex, so if you have a metal one the final product may differ.
I always mis en place, remember that term from the first entry? I'll use it A LOT! So I clean, peel, core and chop my apples and then scale (oh! More vocabulary!!) my ingredients.
First off, I creamed the butter with the sugar, vanilla and eggs. You do this until they are light and fluffy! If you are brave like me and don't mind the risk of tapworm you can try a little bit and taste it. It will be really light!! Trust me, you'll know what I mean, because there is nothing light about butter! that is until you whip the crap out of it!
From here mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until they are just combined! Don't over do it! I like to leave them in the measuring cups until I add them, less bowls and dishes I've got to do!!
Next you will stir in the apples. Viola! Easy right?
Now pour about half the apple batter into the 9X9 pan and then spread the 1/2 cup of dulce de leche on top of that and top that with the rest of the apple batter. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes. I found that mine took closer to 45-50 minutes and the top gets really brown! So make sure to keep your eye on it!
What better time to make the icing than when the cake is in the oven? Now, I waited to spread the icing on top of the cake until it was cool. It wasn't completely cool, it was still a little warm.
Get that handy dandy saucepan ready and put your 2 Tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat. While it gets up to temp mis en place (magic word!) your powdered sugar and have it ready in the bowl. You can also add the cream and vanilla, just don't incorporate them yet. The butter will brown up pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it. Let it get to a tan color and then pull it off the burner and add it to the powedered sugar mixture. Whisk it all together and viola!
After you spread the icing on the cooled cake you are going to want to put it in the refridgerator and let the icing set and until it is ready to serve!
Now that you know the beauty of Browned Butter Icing, maybe you have some new ideas of different things to spread it on! I know I sure do!!