Yes, I know it’s got about a million calories per piece – which is why it’s called millionaire’s shortbread, yeh? but it is totally delicious, and you can always eat just a small piece, can’t you? As a treat? And then don’t have any more. Until the tin is empty.
It’s a bit of a stop-start to make as you have to make the three layers in sequence, so you need to be around and in the kitchen for a few hours off and on but each layer doesn’t take very long so you can do other things in between.
I researched a bit before finalising this recipe and I based it mainly on Jane’s Patisserie – Jane has a lovely baking site, so if you want further inspiration, head over to Janespatisserie.com for lots of lovely cakes and sweet things.
Our Seniors Lunch Club discussion this week was about Garden Birds. Our favourite birds were blackbirds and robins because of their songs, but there was strong support for starlings due to their cheeky nature and their amazing flocking murmurations. One of our members has a tame blackbird who comes to the back door for his food, but the robin used to steal the worms she fed to her pond-living frogs, so she wasn’t so keen on him.
Makes 16 small squares Timings: about 3 hours but with rest/cooling periods in between phases
For the shortbread:
For the caramel:
300g chocolate for the topping
Pre heat your oven to 180°C. Line and grease a 22cm square cake tin, quite deep. You can use any shape tin you like of course, but to cut even squares, a square tin is best.
Make the shortbread:
Cream the butter and sugar together, either by hand or in a mixer with the paddle. Add the flour little by little until you have a crumbly dough. Knead very quickly just to bring it together and then press the dough into the bottom of the cake tin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (depends on the size and depth of your tin) until light brown. Watch out, shortbread can turn from just right to overcooked quite quickly, so be careful.
Take it out of the oven, put the tin on a rack and let it cool down.
Make the caramel:
Put all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed pan – one of those cast iron/enamel pans is good.
Stir over a low heat very slowly until the sugar is properly dissolved – you must keep the heat low until the grittiness of sugar is gone. This stage takes a good ten minutes. Now turn the heat up a little and move the pan onto the smallest burner – this is to stop the mixture burning in the corners of the pan. Constant stirring – use a wooden spatula with a flat end to scoop the mixture off the bottom of the pan. Cook and stir for about 7-10 minutes until the mixture has changed to a golden caramel colour, and when you move the spatula through the mixture you can see the bottom of the pan for a second – it’s really getting thicker. Watch out for splashes and bubbles, the boiling sugar mixture is hot. Pour the caramel onto the top of your shortbread and smooth out. Let the tin cool on the worktop and then place it in the fridge to cool down a bit further.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water until smooth, then pour over the top of your set caramel. Leave to cool.
If you’re cleverer than I am, melt two colours of chocolate in separate bowls and stir them on top of the caramel – I put them both in the same bowl so there weren’t any swirls of white chocolate in among the dark! Never mind, it tasted great and I’ll know for next time.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.