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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.
Makes one baking tray of shortbread - enough for 20 bite-sized pieces
For the shortbread
150g plain flour
For the caramel
200g white granulated sugar
200g thick cream
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.