Every time I make this recipe I am always pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. The hardest part of it is the rather laborious task of stirring the caramel for 8 to 10 minutes, but to be honest if you put on some fab music (I can highly recommend the fabulous Susie Clarke) then 8 minutes or so is not so bad and can in fact be quite therapeutic.
The original recipe I used came from a Waitrose recipe booklet. Sad to say they have stopped making these fab little cook books, but great while it lasted. Anyway the original recipe was ok, great in fact, but me being me I had to tweak it, and now the recipe runs as follows:
For the shortbread base you will need:
- 200g plain flour
- 150g butter
- 80g caster sugar
For the caramel topping you will need:
- 1 can condensed milk
- 75g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp of golden syrup
For the final chocolate topping:
- 50 – 100g chocolate depending on your preferences – my family likes around 50g milk chocolate.
The oven needs to be preheated to 180 degrees C, gas mark 4.
Grease and line a square tin of around 22cm x 22cm or similar type tins.
In a bowl put your flour and butter and then rub them together until your mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor, lucky you! this then should take you only merest moments. Either way once you have your fine crumb mix, you need to add the 80g caster sugar and mix that through. The mixture should start to feel like it is coming together.
Pour this into your prepared tin, and push down firmly into an even compact layer. Pop this into the oven for around 20-25 minutes. I would highly recommend you start checking this at around the 15 minutes mark as an over zealous oven can ruin all your hard work. You need to look out for a nice even golden colour. Leave to cool in the tin.
Next is the tricky-ish bit.
In a good solid saucepan put your condensed milk, butter, 50g sugar and golden syrup and then heat gently until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer, stirring vigorously for around 8-10 minutes, until your caramel has darkened to a fudge like colour.
You need to be on the ball with this one as any wandering off to answer the phone, do a quick text etc etc will result in a burnt bottom! Stir, stir, stir and make sure you have got that music going in the background. Also useful if you have family members/friends around. Get them to dance or otherwise entertain you. I discovered my three children can do a rather marvelous impression of Girls Aloud singing The Promise!!! The less said about my husbands dancing though, the better.
Once you have your caramel ready, pour this into your tin over the shortbread base. Leave to cool.
Word of warning: The caramel is comedically hot. If you get it on your hands/arms etc try to resist popping that into your mouth, as although it tastes really, really good, it will burn you. Best bet, cold water on the offending bit. Save the pan to lick later once cooled!
Once the caramel shortbread is cool you are ready to add your chocolate topping. The original recipe demanded a thick layer of dark 70% chocolate on the caramel. I find that too, too much. My family like about 50g melted milk chocolate drizzled over the caramel in a pleasing zig zag pattern, but really whatever your heart desires is fine with this. You could even scatter a few chopped nuts over the chocolate if you fancy.
Now if you can, this really needs to be refrigerated again to let the chocolate set, but no harm in having a small sliver – just to check it’s ok for everyone else you understand.