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Panko Shortbread With Salted Ponzu Caramel: Recipe Inspired by Iron Chef

I watch The Next Iron Chef like it’s the Olympics. Once the battle is announced, I immediately start to formulate a recipe in my head. It’s my delusional way of participating.

At the end of an episode a few weeks ago, two chefs, Geoffrey Zakarain and Anne Burrell were asked to make a dessert out of Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs and Ponzu Sauce.

I immediately yelled out "Ponzu Caramel Sauce!!"

Mr. Fits gave me a strange sideways glance.

Anne Burrell, then, proceeded to MAKE a Ponzu caramel sauce. Which put a smug smile on my face. Until she lost.

In her defense, the judges loved her dish and Zakarain went on to win the tittle of Next Iron Chef. Although my personal favorite was Elizabeth Faulker, I do believe that Chef Zakarian was the perfect choice. His very first battle as an Iron Chef on Christmas Day earned him a PERFECT score.


Back to that Kikkoman battle:

The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a dessert with Panko and Ponzu. Of course the recipes battled on Next Iron Chef aren’t written down, I have no idea how she made her gorgeous caramel, so I just had to leave it to my own devices to come up with one.

While this is rolling around in my head, I get an email from a lovely and adorable PR girl from Kikkoman whom I had met at IFBC in November. She wanted to know if she could send over a box of Kikkoman goodies for me to play with. Ummm…Yes. Yes you can.

She even included a Kikkoman rubber ducky for Tater. Although I still can’t figure out why he is wearing a sombrero.

(I talked a little a few weeks ago about the whole Blogger/PR relationship and it is pretty awesome.)

So it was fate. I would be making a dessert out of Panko and Ponzu.

Here is what I came up with:

Battle Kikkoman!!!

Panko Shortbread with Salted Ponzu Caramel Bars

Panko Shortbread:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup Kikkoman Panko

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

12 tbs butter

Ponzu Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 tbs Ponzu Sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick of butter

1/4 tsp course sea salt

Line the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up and over the edges of the pan.

In a food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, Panko and salt, pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until combined, about 1 minute. Press the shortbread into the bottom of the baking dish in one even layer. Chill in the refirgerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 20 minutes or until a light golden brown color. Allow to cool.

In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup and ponzu sauce (mixture will bubble to a large volume during cooking). Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 230 degrees, about 5 minutes. While the caramel is cooking, do not stir, but swirl the pan every 30 seconds to redistribute the caramel sauce evenly. Once 230 degrees is reached, add the butter a few cubes at a time and stir, allowing the mixture to return to 230 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, adding slowly.

Pour the caramel over the shortbread and refrigerate for 4 hours, top with sea salt. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares.

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Jacky December 28, 2011 um 4:42 pm

Great idea! Looks delicious.


Andi December 28, 2011 um 7:26 pm

looks good. will have to try.


jess December 29, 2011 um 4:12 pm

wow. so creative


Ruth December 30, 2011 um 6:08 am

Wonderful recipe! I love innovation, I should really try this dish!


Sarah@SarahCupcake December 30, 2011 um 3:19 pm

These are so cool, I love the panko shortbread. I think it would make a great crust, too! 🙂


Maggie @ kitchie coo December 30, 2011 um 6:33 pm

Oh wow, this had fate written all over it! I am so intrigued by the ponzu in caramel, I bet it adds a whole new dimension. Love the panko shortbread too. Very creative!


Jackie December 30, 2011 um 7:11 pm

Maggie & Sarah, I really liked the Panko shortbread, it was kind of a mix between a sugar cookie and a rice crispy treat. The ponzu caramel had a bit of a citrus kick to it. I had to make it twice, because the first time I made it, it was just WAY too much Ponzu! Had to bring it down a couple notches 🙂


Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies January 1, 2012 um 2:17 pm

Wow, I’ve never thought of using panko in shortbread. You’re so creative. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I’d love it if you’d come by and link your shortbread up.


Colleen Bierstine January 3, 2012 um 4:39 pm

This is such an awesome idea! The panko thing is brilliant. I’m not crazy about shortbread, but this is something I’d be curious to try.


Tiffany January 3, 2012 um 6:28 pm

Oh my word… Panko and salted ponzu (which I can drink like Koolaid by the way!) 😀 This is super creative and sounds (and looks!) SUPER delish! Nom 😀


Ann January 3, 2012 um 7:30 pm

This is a brilliant dish! I love it! I watched it and was SO disappointed – I thought Chef Anne’s dish was nothing short of spectacular! ….and these are pretty amazing, too! When they listed the ingredients, I was completely stumped! I would have never thought of caramel! BRAVO!


blueberry monkey January 4, 2012 um 1:02 am

amazing! yummmmmmmmm! make our mouth water!


Mama’s Gotta Bake January 6, 2012 um 11:30 am

These look amazing, will have to give them a try. By the way, I love Geoffrey Zakarian. I wanted to try out his restaurant in New York recently, but couldn’t get in. Maybe next time!


Jackie January 6, 2012 um 11:51 am

Next time for sure! I’ve been a fan of his for a while. And Elizabeth Faulkner, so I was SO excited to see them battle it out!


BigFatBaker January 12, 2012 um 7:52 am

Oooh this sounds so interesting! I bet it’s so tasty. I wanted Elizabeth to win too, but I agree Geoffrey is a good fit. Great job with this!!


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