True to my word, I did indeed bake for you yesterday afternoon, did indeed photograph my baking efforts and now today am delighted to be sharing this fabulous recipe with you all.
Caramel Shortbread :: do you love this stuff? Oh boy, I do.
I do, I do, I do.
However, this is not a recipe I bake often, mainly I think because it doesn't fall into the spontaneous quick and easy baking category. A little bit of time is needed for this creation, plus you need to remember to have the ingredients available. To be honest, a rather large slab of chocolate would not be sitting patiently in the cupboards around here waiting to be melted and used in a recipe. Nor would we tend to have a block of butter or a tin of condensed milk at the ready either. So I have to really make a definite decision to bake caramel shortbread, and go henceforth to the shops to purchase the ingredients. Which is what I did yesterday, especially for You. Well, and me too. And the Little People. Oh, and J too. We were all VERY glad I made that decision yesterday.
There are many recipes for Caramel Shortbread/Millionaires Shortbread to be found on the internet :: the one I use comes from a handwritten recipe written down for us many years ago by J's Nana, which has been baked and adored by generations. It's a real gem.
For those of you not familiar with caramel shortbread (oh how sad), it consists of three layers :: a shortbread biscuit base, topped with a layer of caramel fudge and finished off with a layer of milk chocolate. Its very sweet. And oh-so-moreish. You will not be able to just take one piece and leave it at that, so be warned :: if you are in any way trying to diet, then do not make this recipe.
OK..lets crack on shall we?
170g self raising flour
1 tin (397g) condensed milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup (or substitute corn syrup in the US)
140g (maybe more) good milk chocolate
LAYER 1 :: the Shortbread.
Into a bowl, measure 55g of the sugar and 115g of the butter and cream together until smooth and fluffy.
Mix in 170g self raising flour until it begins to come together into a crumb like consistency. Keep working it with a spoon (and possibly your hands) to form a soft dough.
you will need to spread the dough over the bottom of a shallow baking
tray, lined with baking parchment/greaseproof paper. The tray I use is
actually called a Swiss Roll tin I think, and measures 20 x30cm (8 x 12 inches).
The dough will be spread quite thin so you need to work it with your hands and fingers, pushing it right out to the sides and into the corners of the tray, flattening it out as you go. It seems for a while as if it's never gonna spread that far or that thin, but persevere, it will work.
Prick it all over with a fork to stop it rising too much, then bake in a moderate oven (gas 4 / 180 / 350) for 15mins until very lightly golden brown.
LAYER 2 :: the Caramel Fudge
The magic ingredient here is condensed milk.
This is probably not something you would normally buy, it's an
incredibly sweet, sticky, sweetened, thickened milk. In the UK, you can
easily find it in the supermarket, usually on the shelf alongside the
tinned fruit with the other sickly creamy/milky products.
:: please don't confuse it with evaporated milk, which is sold in an
almost identical tin, because then you will probably get home and realise you have the wrong product, throw a rather large hissy fit, resulting in the need to go back to the supermarket yet again (can you tell I've had this experience?)
So, into a saucepan, put 115g of the butter, 115g of the sugar, 1 tbs golden syrup, and the whole sticky tin of condensed milk.
Bring it s-l-o-w-l-y to the boil, over a medium heat, stirring constantly.
It can feel very s-l-o-w.
But you don't want the sugar to burn or the mixture to stick.
After much stirring, the mixture will finally begin to bubble and boil.
At this point, when you are sure it's bubbling and boiling nicely, set a timer and boil the mixture for FIVE more minutes, stirring vigorously in a jiggy-jiggy fashion.
The mixture will thicken and begin to caremalise and darken slightly.
It will smell delicious.
Pour the caramel fudge straight over the shortbread base and spread evenly.
Then pop the tray into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the caramel fudge layer to cool/set.
LAYER 3 :: the Chocolate
Now the original recipe I have states 140g milk chocolate...but you know what, I think I would recommend using a little more, maybe 180g??
That way you are not fighting with the melted chocolate trying to
spread it out thinly over the caramel, and the finished thing will have
more of a chocolatey bite.
Melt the chocolate (I zapped it for 40 seconds in the microwave until partially melted, then stirred it a lot to melt it all down completely)
Spread the chocolate quickly over the caramel fudge layer, smoothing it out evenly as you go.
Lick the spatula.
Now lick the bowl.
Put the tray back into the fridge for about an hour or so, until the chocolate has set, but is not rock hard.
It's very difficult to cut when it's rock hard, so be warned...try and time it right or else you might end up having a tantrum.
Lift the whole slab of gorgeousness out of the tray (should be easy if you've used greaseproof paper) and cut into squares/rectangles of whatever size you fancy. We tend to make ours quite small so they are more child friendly.
And mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ENJOY!!!!
Extremely good at any time of day.
With a cuppa, or just rammed in with no beverage to hand.
The choice is yours.
Oh, and I challenge you to just eat ONE piece.
I tell you, it's absolutely, totally, completely not possible.
Edited to add :: if you're in the US and can't get golden syrup, then I think the closet substitute would be maple syrup light corn syrup (thanks for all your advice on this matter!). And as you're only needing a tablespoon I think it would be fine in this recipe. Hope this helps xx