Terribly Gooey Salted Caramel Shortbread
It was about four years ago when I first heard about salted caramel. I was in New York and it sounded so alien to my little English ears that I grimaced and chose a filter coffee instead (black, no sugar and certainly no salt, thank you). However, sometime last year, by some sort of accident (and possibly watching numerous episodes of Cupcake Wars) I had gotten into my head that salted caramel was something I needed in my life. Such a fickle girl. However, I eventually had some salted caramel ice cream and I was sold. Hooked, some may say, but it occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t actually included it in my own baking!
Now, everyone loves a decadent slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread; the buttery crisp shortbread, the layer of gooey caramel and the cool bite of rich, hard chocolate on top. But they can get a little on the too-sweet side so, I thought they’d be the perfect bake to test my salted caramel in order to break up a little of the sweet with some salt!
175g plain flour
4tbsp soft brown sugar
4 tbsp soft brown sugar
397g condensed milk (I have no idea why but that’s how much comes in one tin…)
2 tbsp of flaky sea salt
150g dark chocolate (or milk, it’s up to you, I just prefer it a bit more bitter)
Preheat oven to 190.
Rub together the flour and butter until you have a breadcrumb-like texture then add in the sugar and mix together until you have a nice firm, golden dough.
Grease a round 9” cake tin (or a square one, it really doesn’t matter too much, I just like the way a round one looks…).
Press your dough into the base of the tin and, once it is nice and even, prick with a fork all over and pop in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Once your shortbread has cooled begin work on your caramel; pop the sugar, butter and condensed milk in a non-stick sauce pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring continuously. You have to be careful at this stage, you don’t want your mixture to burn.
Once the caramel has begun to boil, turn down the heat and keep stirring. (If you find it’s not thickening after about 10 minutes at this stage, take it off the heat for a little while and stir before putting back over the heat to finish. This should help to thicken it!)
When your caramel is thick, golden and coming away from the sides of the pan, stir in the salt and pour over the cooled shortbread.
You may want to, like I tend to do, have a bit of a clean-up and a dance around your kitchen at this point, whilst your caramel cools down. You don’t want to put hot, melted chocolate on top of still-runny caramel. Swirly madness will ensue.
Melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water and spread over your caramel. Leave to cool a final time for a couple of hours before cutting up and dishing out!