Handing in a whole lot of paperwork on time, be it tax returns/reports etc, means only one thing: mini-celebration time=imbibing caramel (and lots of it). And what better way than trying out and eventually completely changing a new recipe (because I don't like to follow rules in recipes). I constantly feel the urge to mix-them-up!!
And this recipe was of course no exception!! The condensed-milk caramel exuded just the right amount of rich-honeyed-gooeyness. The shortbread base, the right amount of buttery cookie crunch--perfect to dip in a hot cup of bitter ginger tea. The almond chocolate, mixing with the hazelnut halves--buttery, rich, pungent with the slightest hint of saltiness to combat the sweetness---all topped with the cinnamon biscuit-y crumble topping. And of course this decadence has Milo!! WOW!! Perfect straight from the oven with ice-cream. Or cooled, crisp and sliced into squares.
Hazelnut and Almond Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Slice.
160g butter softened
1 tsp coconut essence
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2½ cups organic plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
20g butter, extra
2 generous tbsp honey
395g can condensed milk
200g block Cadbury chocolate with Almonds, broken into squares
1 small packet (100g) hazelnut halves
1 Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a square cake tin with baking paper. Using an electric hand beater, beat butter, essence and sugar in a bowl until light brown and creamy. Add flour and baking powder. Stir until well combined. Press ¾ of dough into the base of square cake pan. Lightly and sparingly, sprinkle on cinnamon and Milo. Reserve remaining base mixture for topping.
2 Place extra butter, honey and condensed milk into a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter melts and mixture is well combined. Continue to stir for 2 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Pour and spread over base. Lightly and sparingly, sprinkle on more cinnamon and Milo. (You want to give it an aromatic edge so the taste is not flat).
3 Break chocolate into squares and scatter on top of caramel. Scatter hazelnut halves. Sprinkle reserved base evenly over caramel. Lightly and sparingly, dust with more cinnamon and Milo. Press slightly, to make sure the caramel is holding it.
4 Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool. Cut into rectangles and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
A. Piping hot out of the oven & a bit gooey with vanilla ice-cream, dusted with cinnamon and Milo.
B. Cooled and crisp in dainty rectangles with some strong bitter ginger tea.