I've been eying a chocolate caramel slice recipe in a book from mum-in-law for a year now. This week, I finally made it for a party . It's a very straightforward recipe. A shortbread crust, a thick layer of caramel, and a tiny layer of three kinds of chocolate, poured in stripes and then marbeled. I had my doubts--could any shortbread recipe compared to that of the America's Test Kitchen's New Best Recipes? Would the miniscule amount of chocolate even be noticeable?
The shortbread came together quickly. I had some issues with the caramel--it never got quite as dark as I wanted it to, yet I ended up with a pan full of burned bits. Thank goodness for strainers. Nor did the milky caramel taste quite as strong as I wanted it to. The chocolate worked out just fine, although I didn't smooth the caramel layer as thoroughly as I'd've liked.
When I tried the slice, I was pleasantly surprised. The shortbread was just fine. The caramel had a pleasant texture and a nice, quiet flavor. The small amount of chocolate prevented it from overwhelming the caramel. I'll definitely be making these again, although I'll increase the amount of chocolate just a bit, and perhaps use my beloved ATK shortbread recipe.
I also, uh, dropped my camera in a ramekin full of melted chocolate taking these pictures:
Marbled Caramel Chocolate Slice (Cookies, Catherine Atkinson et al.)
2 1/4 C flour
scant 1/2 C superfine sugar
3/4 C sweet butter, softened
7 TB sweet butter, diced
scant 1/2 C light brown sugar
2 x 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
3 1/2 oz milk chocolate
2 oz white chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line and lightly grease a 13 x 9" jelly roll pan. Put the flour and superfine sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Work with your hands until the mixture forms a dough.
2. Put the dough into the prepared pan and press it out with your hand to cover the base. Then use the back of a spoon to smooth it evenly into the pan. Prick all over with a fork and bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and very light brown. Set aside and leave in the pan to cool.
3. To make the filling, put the butter, brown sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stirring constantly, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture very gently, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and has turned a caramel color. Take care that the mixture does not burn on the base of the pans, as this will spoil the flavor. Remove from the heat.
4. Pour the filling mixture over the cookie base, spread evenly, then leave until cold.
5. To make the topping, melt each type of chocolate separately in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water. Spoon lines of semisweet and milk chocolate over the set caramel filling.
6. Add small spoonfuls of white chocolate. Use a skewer to form a marbled effect on the topping.