Apples are everywhere at the moment. They are falling out of trays at the market, falling off the trees along the road and falling onto my plate at any given opportunity. As much as I enjoy an apple on its own, it has to be a good one mind, sometimes you can have too many to know what to do with. Apple cakes, crumbles, pies and flapjacks are all lovely but I wanted to enjoy some apples at their very best and not shrouded by too many other flavours.
With the chocolate set, the kettle was on. The tea was in the pot and the milk in the cups. My Granny had had the foresight to cut the shortbread into pieces before the caramel and chocolate had set and three glorious pieces were put on a plate.It is a good thing that neither of my grandparents have false teeth. The hardness of that caramel would have ensured we were finding bits of false enamel in the lounge for months to come. I was at the age where loose teeth were commonplace and I’m surprised I didn’t lose them all with the first bite. We all looked at each other, somewhat relieved at the lack of shattering teeth noises and decided we would give our best efforts to the birds. Who knows how many beaks got broken. As far as I’m concerned, if my Granny had had a caramel failure then there was no way I could be successful. She has culinary bravery that I know not. However, despite all my concerns I tried it again.
IngredientsYou will need (for 8 pieces of Millionaire’s Shortbread):
- 125g margarine or butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 50g cornflour
- 150g plain flour
For the caramel
- 100g margarine or butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1/4 small can evaporated milk
For the topping
- 150g dark chocolate
MethodIf you want to play toffee roulette, then here’s how. You’ll need to beat together the margarine with the caster sugar. When fluffy, sieve in the cornflour and plain flour. Bring it together how you want your shortbread to be. I like mine crumbly so I leave it like big breadcrumbs. Press into a greased tin and bake at 150C for 30-40 minutes. For the dreaded caramel, put the margarine, sugar, golden syrup and evaporated milk into a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil, (it smells like everything good is happening in the pan) boil it for 10 minutes and do not abandon it. Stir it continuously. It doesn’t matter if the doorbell rings or the dog wants to go out because you’ll feel far worse regret from abandoning your caramel. Be careful as the mixture tends to gain volume with alarming ferociousness. After 7-8 minutes it will darken in colour and you really need to make sure it doesn’t catch at the bottom.
Perhaps I’m taking the caramel part a little seriously but I wasn’t risking losing my precious gnashers. Spoon the caramel out onto the shortbread base and spread out with the back of the spoon.
Melt yourself some chocolate in a small bowl over some gently simmering water; I went for dark but whatever is your favourite, and pour this on top of the caramel.
I fancied making some shortbread and in my quest I stumbled across an interesting variation of this classic. It was in James Martin’s book entitled ‘Desserts’ (see link below). I love this book, the recipes are so easy to follow and are always yummy. He calls this particular recipe ‘Grandma’s caramel shortbread’ and I am so grateful she shared this recipe with him so I was lucky enough to be able to make and eat it.
IngredientsWhat you will need:
397g can of condensed milk