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Salt caramel shortbread (V)

mixer butter


Salt caramel always seems to amaze everyone who has never tried it before. I think it is because the salt/sweet combination is quite unusual. It is not hard to make, but it is quite time consuming. For those who were at the 12th November dinner and want to recreate what you had there, just follow the recipe for the caramel alone (i.e. don't bother with the shortbread or chocolate), pour into a tray lined with baking paper when done and sprinkle with salt before it has completely solidified.

 

Makes one baking tray of shortbread - enough for 20 bite-sized pieces

 

For the shortbread

50g sugar

100g butter

150g plain flour

 

For the caramel

200g white granulated sugar

200g thick cream

50g butter

 

For the chocolate

75g dark chocolate, chopped

25g thick cream

coarse ground salt

 

You are first going to make the shortbread. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

 

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, sift in the flour and mix until combined. You may need a tiny bit of milk to bring the mixture together into a dough.

 

Spread it out onto the baking sheet in a single thin layer and press flat. Bake for about 20 minutes until pale golden in colour. Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tray.

 

Next up is making the caramel. Put the sugar, cream and butter together in a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally once the butter has melted. Try not to stir too much or the caramel will be grainy. Turn up the heat slightly and cook for about ten minutes until the sugar caramelises, turning the mixture golden brown.

 

Cook to the firmball stage. This means having a bowl of cold water standing by. Drop a little caramel into the cold water, fish it out with your fingers and squeeze it. You want it to hold its shape, but to be squashy under pressure, like fudge or chewing gum. If you are new to making caramel, this website explains the different stages quite well.

 

When the caramel is ready, pour it over the shortbread and spread to the edges so it completely covers the shortbread in a thin layer. Leave to cool.

 

For the chocolate topping, heat the cream gently in a small pan, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until all is melted and smooth. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the caramel-topped shortbread in a pretty pattern and sprinkle all over with salt whilst the chocolate is still warm. Leave to cool until the chocolate is solidified. Cut into bite-sized squares and serve.

 

It will keep for at least a few days, unrefrigerated in an airtight container.


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