A couple of days ago I fancied doing some baking, but not cakes as I seemed to have mastered those but something I had not yet tried to make and one of those things being shortbread. And if I was going to attempt shortbread then I should make it better by adding caramel and dark chocolate. I found a reasonably simple to follow recipe (see below)
Makes: 20 chocolate caramel squares
For the shortbread
170g plain flour
60g caster sugar
The raw dough before cooking, this surprisingly took quite a lot less time to mix together by hand than I first thought especially with arthritic joints and hands.
For the caramel
1 (397g) tin condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g caster sugar
The raw caramel ingredients before any heat was added.
The boiling caramel
The finished caramel in the tin setting
For chocolate topping
1 (100g) bar milk chocolate, melted
I used Green & Blacks (a well known organic brand) of dark cooking chocolate instead of milk which was suggested in the recipe. It worked next time I might choose a different chocolate and experiment with that.
Prep:30min › Cook:20min › Extra time:1min cooling › Ready in:51min
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or gas mark 4. Lightly grease or line a 18cm square cake tin.
2. For the shortbread: Sieve the flour and sugar into a large bowl. With clean hands, rub the butter into the mixture until it comes together in dough. Press it into the bottom of the cake tin, spread evenly and prick with a fork all over. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
3. For the caramel: While the shortbread is baking, pour the condensed milk, syrup, sugar and butter into a saucepan. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time. This takes a while but has to be done carefully otherwise it will stick to the pan and burn. Watch it closely, and when it turns a deep caramel colour, pour it over the shortbread.
4. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes or so, then pour over melted chocolate. Transfer to fridge for another 30 minutes or so to set before slicing into squares.
5. They will keep for 5 days if stored in an airtight tin or the fridge.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave by checking and stirring every 10 seconds, or in a bain marie if you prefer.
Use a mixture of different chocolate if you like – try mixing dark/milk/white and swirl together. Pour over the caramel shortbread and return to the fridge to set.
While the creation sets in the fridge and I eagerly wait for the taste test.
Please excuse the rough edges on the slice of Millionaire shortbread, I left it still in the tin in the fridge for a bit longer than suggested, but the warm knife around the edge seemed to do the trick in loosening it, and the flipping it over with another plate on top seemed to help in the matter of getting it out of the tin. Overall it worked and it dare I say it passed the taste test with flying colours, and S has already asked ‘when are you going to be making this again? I’m going shopping on Saturday for some bits, what do you need?’
The up’s and downs
The up side – it was much easier than I first thought to make, either that or I have got more confidence in reading recipes. I am not a huge shortbread fan, I never have been, it has been one of those take it or leave it kinds of biscuits but on the other hand it has been on my list of things I would like to try and master. Not only that but the shortbread tasted better than my mothers!!!
The downside – it might of been easy to make, but it don’t last long, and all the fun was had trying to remove the shortbread from the tin.
Things I have learnt…..
The tin I used must be ‘Tardis’ like everything seemed to fit despite my doubts earlier, for some reason the caramel seem to sink down a little when it cooled down (I hope it hasn’t sunk into the base) – it didn’t sink in to the base in the end everything managed to fit into the tin.
Notes for next time
- Double all the mixture (it never lasts).
- Invest in some loose bottomed tins (for easy removal of bake or any bake) hopefully.
- Try different chocolate toppings.
- Salted caramel? maybe.
- Don’t leave it too long in the fridge.