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Monday, 18 February 2013

Salted Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread

My love affair with salted caramel, which I currently seem to be sharing with the whole world, continues. This time, the heavenly ingredient takes its proud place in the heart-attack provoking confection that is millionaire's shortbread. If you are not familiar with shortbread, know that it is a biscuit made with an obscene quantity of butter, originating from Scotland. At some point an evil mind, or perhaps a genius (depending on your point of view!), had the idea of covering this delicious but already very rich biscuit with a layer of caramel and another one of chocolate, hence creating the millionaire's shortbread: a deluxe version of the "humble" original!  It packs a zillion calories a bite, so I recommend you approach it with care :-), but its pure decadence makes it the epitome of a sweet treat!

INGREDIENTS (makes about 12 squares)
Note: recipe inspired by the River Cottage cookbook, but modified by me

For the shortbread base
  • 150 gr unsalted butter, softened
  • 75 gr caster sugar
  • 150 gr plain flour
  • 75 gr semolina flour

For the salted caramel

For the chocolate topping
  • 150 gr good quality milk chocolate
  •  25 gr butter

Begin by preparing the shortbread. Turn on the oven at 170°C. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a handheld whisker of food mixer, then sift in the flour and semolina and using a fork, work the mixture together until it resembles a soft, crumbly dough. Do not knead it or over mix it. Press the dough down a 20 cm square baking tin (it needs to be at least 20 cm deep), spreading it evenly. Prick it all over with a fork, as you can see in the picture, then bake it for about 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Leave it in the tin to cool completely, while you are making the caramel (see "step by step" process here).

When the caramel is ready and slightly cooled, pour it in the tin all over the shortbread, spreading it evenly with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Cover it with clingfilm and place it in the fridge to cool for at least half an hour.

Finally, melt the chocolate and butter at bain mairie (i.e. in a heathproof bowl, placed over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water) and when cooled a little but still runny, pour it over the caramel layer. Leave it to firm up for about two hours and then serve it, cut into squares.

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