Total Time: 60
Yield: 2 dozen tarts
Set out on a platter or individually plated, these divine chocolate treats don't need to wait for a special occasion.
Ingredients:1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1-1/3 cups heavy cream, divided
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 Cookie Tart Shells
Garnishes: whipped cream; red currants, cranberries, or sliced kumquats; gold flakes (optional)
In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup and boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cook until light amber in color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/3 cup cream. Let cool and thicken, stirring occasionally. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine chocolate and 1 cup cream, stirring until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Stir in egg and vanilla and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Fill each tart shell with 1 teaspoon caramel, then fill with chocolate. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Place a teaspoon of whipped cream and a red currant (or other berry) on top and sprinkle with gold flakes if desired.
Cookie Tart Shells
Ingredients:1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cold water
Nonstick cooking spray
In a standing or electric mixer, cream together butter, salt, and sugar until fluffy and lightened in color. Add flour and water and mix just until combined. Roll dough into a ball, cover in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes (or overnight).
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist mini-muffin pan (or mini-tart molds) with nonstick cooking spray. Roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with 2-inch cookie cutter (or cut to fit mini-tart molds). Gently press each round into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes. Prick base of each tart with a fork. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in tins on wire racks, then remove gently to fill. Yield: about 2 dozen tart shells.