This is one of my all time favourite recipes. The sprinkling of salt on the chocolate gives these little bitesize squares a real punch which works beautifully with the dark chocolate. The sweet, smoothness of the caramel and the crunch of the shortbread come together to make a totally magical mouthful. All in all, they’re basically the best thing you can ever have in your mouth.
Ingredients for about 16-20 squares
- 120g salted butter, softened (it MUST be actual full fat, accept-no-substitutes butter – no marg or half fat rubbish)
- 75g caster sugar
- 180g plain flour
- 1 can of Carnation caramel
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp sea salt (cannot be substituted for table salt – behave!)
- 100g very dark, very good quality chocolate (I use 85% cocoa)
- Preheat your oven to 180°c. Grease an 8″ loose bottom square baking tin and line with baking parchment. If you don’t have a loose bottomed one, line with lots of parchment so that you will be able to lift the whole lot out of the pan when cold. If you’ve got flappy bits of parchment, use clothes pegs to pin them to the sides.
- With a freestanding or a handheld mixer, beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Don’t overbeat though or your biscuits will go a bit *too* airy. About 1-2 mins on medium should do make it light but not overly fluffy.
- Turn the mixer to a slower speed and slowly add the sieved flour. It will turn into a dough fairly quickly. If it doesn’t look like it’s about to go, you can just press the mixture into the tin and squash it down into your buttered, lined tin. Smooth out with the palms of your hands and prick all over with a fork. Pop in the oven for 15-20 mins until it is lightly golden. Don’t overcook it.
- While the shortbread is cooking. Pop your caramel into a small non stick pan and warm on a low heat. Whisk until smooth and then add the sugar and butter. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth and keep mixing as it starts to bubble.
- Now, mixing constantly, simmer the caramel on a very low heat for about 15-20 mins. You will need to be patient as it takes quite a long time to achieve the right thickness. If you take it off too quickly, the caramel won’t set properly.
- When the shortbread is out and the caramel has gotten to a nice, thick consistency, leave them both to cool for half an hour or so.
- When they are cool (or mostly cool), spread the caramel over the biscuit base (don’t remove it from the tin yet) and then pop in the fridge for an hour to cool and set.
- When it’s firm, melt your dark chocolate (either in a double boiler or in the microwave (but only if you watch it like a hawk!)) and spread evenly over the caramel. Sprinkle the salt over the chocolate.
- Pop back into the fridge and wait until the chocolate hardens.
- When it’s all set, use your loose bottom or your parchment to lift the whole lot carefully out of the tin.
- Pop a sharp knife in a mug of boiling water to warm. This is a trick Clare from Little Bear Cakery taught me! Then, wipe the knife off and gently pressure the chocolate until the knife melts through and you can cut it. If you do it cold your chocolate will crack. If aesthetics aren’t important to you then by all means hack away, but I find the hot knife method makes very nice even little squares, if you can be patient enough to do it.
- Cut them all up into bitesize squares (they are VERY rich so don’t go too big!) and store in an airtight container.