I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


White Chocolate Dream Bars

32 bars


Calling all white chocolate lovers! Here's one for you. A chewy, rich, dense-textured white chocolate bar is accented with semisweet chocolate chunks, then glazed with an easy white chocolate ganache, and decorated with more semisweet chocolate. These are rather fancy-looking, but they aren't difficult. You MUST use best-quality white chocolate for these. Look on the ingredient list; cocoa butter should be one of the very first ingredients listed. It is very important that you chop the chocolate finely before melting it.

You'll need a hand-held electric mixer to make the bars. They must be stored cold, although I think the edges begin to dry out if they're stored in the fridge for more than a couple of days. These freeze well, but I freeze them in cartons, as any kind of plastic wrap or foil might stick to the glaze while they freeze or defrost. Defrost them in the refrigerator, if you do freeze them. Please do allow these to sit at room temperature, covered, for 15 or 20 minutes before serving, as it really improves the flavor.

6 ozs. best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into slim pats
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, graded "large", at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
4 ozs. (about 2/3 cup) best-quality semisweet
   chocolate chunks (the chunks should be
   no larger than 1/2-inch on a side)

White Ganache Glaze:
6 ozs. best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

1-1/2 ozs. good-quality semisweet
   chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. heavy cream


For Bars:
Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 7 by 11 by 2 inch pan with aluminum foil (use heavy-duty foil or two lengths of regular foil), pressing out as many creases as possible, and folding any overhang back against the outer edges of the pan. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan only with solid vegetable shortening. Set aside.

In large heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped white chocolate and butter pats. Set over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir very frequently just until almost melted. White chocolate can be stubborn about melting, so you may notice some tiny flecks of unmelted chocolate--OK. Remove from heat and hot water. with hand-held electric mixer at lowest speed, beat the white chocolate mixture only until no unmelted chocolate flecks remain. Important note: while you're doing this, the white chocolate mixture will separate and look horribly curdled, and you'll think all is lost. Don't worry, as the mixture will smooth out when the other ingredients are added. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Add sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Beat at low speed until well-mixed and smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; beat at lowest speed just until combined. By hand, stir in chocolate chunks. Spread evenly in prepared pan, making sure batter is pushed into corners.

Bake in preheated oven for 26 to 32 minutes. During baking, the center may rise sharply, and the top crust may lift off the brownies. If this occurs, gently puncture the top of the brownies in two or three places with a toothpick. Turn the pan back-to-front about halfway through baking time. The brownies are done when the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, the top is a light golden brown, and the edges are a slightly darker brown. A toothpick inserted in the center will not emerge clean, or even almost clean, however. Do not overbake, or the bars will lose their chewiness. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing. During cooling, most of the surface of the brownies will fall slightly, except for the outer edges--OK.

For Glaze:
Place finely chopped chocolate in small heatproof bowl. Set over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir very frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; stir until smooth, pressing out any lumps with back of spoon or a rubber spatula.

In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream just to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; all at once, add about two-thirds of hot cream to melted white chocolate. Gently stir to incorporate, then beat or whisk until smooth, scraping bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Gradually stir in remaining cream.

Pour glaze onto cooled bars, spreading almost to edges (the outer edges, which are higher, will be trimmed off when the bars are cut, so don't glaze them). Allow to stand at room temperature while preparing decoration.

For Decoration:
Combine finely chopped chocolate and heavy cream in small heatproof bowl. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir or whisk frequently just until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.

With a small spoon, make 6 or 7 thick lines of the melted chocolate mixture across the glazed bars, parallel to the short edges of the pan and stopping short of the edges (again, as the edges will be trimmed off, there's no need to decorate them). Use all of the melted chocolate mixture. Now, take a toothpick or the edge of a flat knife, and draw it back and forth through these lines, at a 90 degree angle to them. This will marble the lines of melted chocolate--don't overdo the marbling. Make certain, also, that you don't drag the toothpick or knife edge into the top of the bars; you just want to marble the glaze.

Chill the bars until the glaze is set, at least 2 hours. Cover airtight when cold, and store in refrigerator. To cut into bars, remove pan from refrigerator; remove uncut bars, still in foil, from the pan. Place on a cutting board. Gently peel back edges of foil. with a large, very sharp, straight-edged, heavy knife, cut off the unglazed edges of the bars (make sure you cut all the way down through the bottom of the bars, as the chocolate chunks will all be down at the bottom). I cut these into 24 bars, as they are quite rich, but you can cut them even smaller, if you wish. Periodically run the knife blade under hot water to clean off both sides, then dry the blade; this will keep the bars from sticking so much. Gently peel the bars off the foil that was at the bottom of the pan. Store airtight in the refrigerator, or freeze. Allow to stand at room temperature, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.



Apricot-Walnut Bars

Omit semisweet chocolate chunks from the above bar recipe in White Chocolate Dream Bars. Substitute 1/2 cup finely snipped dried apricots (these should be soft and moist) AND 1/2 cup medium-fine-chopped walnuts. After you have measured the flour, take out about 1 Tbsp. Of it, add it to the snipped dried apricots and chopped walnuts, and stir them well to coat and separate (most will sink to the bottom of the bars anyway, but this will help a little).

Proceed as directed above, adding the apricots and walnuts (and any remaining flour) to the bars last. When bars are baked and cooled, glaze with ganache glaze as above. Omit chocolate decoration; substitute 1/3 cup medium-fine-chopped, toasted, cooled walnuts, sprinkling them onto the glaze as evenly as possible.


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This page created September 1999