Food: Salted caramel millionaires shortbread

 
Shortbread 2
Shortbread 2

My husband loves millionaires shortbread. He also loves salted caramel. So I decided to combine the two. The shortbread base is crispy and slightly salty, the caramel is thick and fudgy and there is just the barest whisper of chocolate on the top. He doesn't like thick chocolate on his millionaires shortbread you see, and neither do I. I made mini ones, because the huge slab you usually get in cafes is just too much. Although strangely I didn't seem to have too much trouble eating two of these in a row - it must be a psychological thing! The saltiness does cut through the sweet though so maybe that's it. They're lovely though - the perfect treat for the weekend or a lovely hostess gift or present for a very deserving friend. To make your own you will need:

For the shortbread: 175g butter (I always use salted butter - the unsalted stuff just tastes like fat to me) 75g caster sugar 225g plain flour

For the caramel: 200g butter (again I used salted) 1 x 397g tin condensed milk  (that's the size they come in in the super markets) 4 tbsp golden syrup 1/2 tsp sea salt For the topping: 100g good quality milk chocolate

Method: Pre-heat your oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin (mine is actually 22cm - but it worked just fine. Excuse my very unprofessional looking lining - it did the trick). My cake tin has a loose bottom so I was able to easily lift off my shortbreads. If yours doesn't, line your tin using two strips of baking paper that cross over the bottom and come up the sides. This makes a bit of a sling for your shortbreads and allows your to lift them out of the tin easily.

shortbread base
shortbread base

Rub together the butter and flour until  it resembles bread crumbs (you could probably do this in a food processor to speed it up.) Mix in the sugar and then press into the bottom of your tin. Get it as flat as possible then bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150c for a further 30 minutes. Allow the shortbread to cool.

caramel
caramel

While that's happening  put the butter, golden syrup, condensed milk and salt in a pan. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. I stirred mine which turned it a bit fudgy - just how I like it. If you want yours to be more of a gooey caramel then just swirl it around in the pan - don't stir it. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and leave to cool until set.

caramel 2
caramel 2

Melt your chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour into the centre of the caramel and tip the tin this way and that until the whole surface is covered with chocolate. I used just 100g of chocolate which gives just the thinest covering, if you like more chocolate try 200 or 300g for a thicker layer.

shortbread 3
shortbread 3

Leave to set again and then cut with a sharp knife into pieces. I got about 18 squares out of mine.

hostess gift
hostess gift

To wrap them for a gift, cut a large piece of baking paper. Sit your shortbread in the centre. Lift up two opposite sides and line up their top edges. Fold over the top and then keep folding until your shortbreads are tightly wrapped. Fold the other two ends underneath and tie with bakers twine. Add a label if you like.