For a truly sophisticated Valentine’s dessert, skip the ubiquitous chocolate-covered strawberry in favor of a three-layer bar packed with decadence. To start, a chocolate shortbread base is topped with a slick layer of strawberry jam. Finished with glossy ganache (spiked with Amaretto!), an ample sprinkle of fleur de sel is an absolute must, uniting the rich chocolate and sweet jam.
Cut bars into diamonds, or break out the heart-shaped cookie cutter if you must. Regardless, your Valentine will appreciate a new twist on a classic.
Salted Chocolate Ganache & Jam Bars
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Amaretto
- Fleur de sel
- Preheat oven to 300°F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until smooth; beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; beat just to combine. Use a sheet of parchment to press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan and prick all over with a fork. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake shortbread for 30 minutes, until firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Place jam in a small bowl and microwave briefly (about 10 seconds); whisk to loosen. Use a pastry brush to brush jam over shortbread; chill in freezer while making ganache to let jam set.
- For the ganache, pour cream into a saucepan and bring just to a boil over high heat. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; pour cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in Amaretto. Pour ganache over jam layer and smooth with an offset spatula. Cool for 20 minutes at room temperature, sprinkle with fleur de sel, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Just before cutting, chill pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; use a sharp knife to trim away any ragged edges, then cut into diamonds. Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.