Salted Nut Caramel Shortbread
My mum is the best baker I know (everyone says this, but mine is, end of story). This recipe is based on her 'vintage' caramel shortbread recipe aka its "bloody TRIED AND TESTED" her quote, not mine. It's then is spruced up (by me...) with the addition of properly chunky whole roasted sweet & salty nuts.
She is NUTS about nuts so it was the only way I could improve upon her recipe without causing a catfight. And if you know me and my mum, that can happen at the drop of a hat...
No two words about it, these are really very good. The ratio of caramel to shortbread is perfect and they are slavered in a proper layer of dark chocolate alongside chunky salty nuts. Basically, they feel a bit sexier and more grown up in comparison to the nail-bitingly shop-bought ones...
You'll love this recipe, I promise.
200g plain flour
100g of semolina or rice flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp fine salt
200g salted cooking butter
60ml golden syrup
400g condensed milk
3 tsp flaky salt
Chocolate & nut topping:
250g dark cooking chocolate
300g whole nuts
3 tsp flaky salt
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four.
Grease a tin about 20-25cm
Put the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, rice flour & salt) into a bowl and mix well
Cut up your butter into pieces
In a food processor whizz together the dry ingredients and butter, until it forms bread crumbs, you can do this in a bowl by rubbing it together with your hands
Transfer to a bowl and bring the crumbs together with your hands to form a dough - it should be "just" holding together - don't worry if it feels dry, it should not feel sticky!
Press into the tin, prick all over with a fork and bake for about 15-18minutes, you might want to check it at 15, its done when its a SLIGHT golden colour, but still very similar in paleness to the shortbread dough
Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely
Put the butter and sugar in a heavy-based pan with the syrup, condensed milk and salt
Heat slowly to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar
Once sugar is dissolved - turn the heat up and allow the start simmering and bubbling, using a wooden spoon continuously and vigorously mix the caramel to stop it from sticking the bottom of the pan
Continue this process, stirring continuously for about 10-15 minutes until the caramel is amber in colour and thick and fudgy, immediately pour over the shortbread
Smooth it down with a palette knife and leave to set somewhere cool
This should take around 20-25 minutes
In the meantime toast your nuts in a heavy-based pan on a mid-high heat - they should start to smell toasted after about 3mins
Add your butter, sugar, and salt and continue to toast until they become browned and sticky
Remove from the heat, taste - you might want to add more salt here
Break your chocolate into chunks and in an ovenproof bowl either melt your chocolate in the microwave in blasts of 40-second increments, stirring every-time OR heat over a bain-marie (a saucepan of simmering water) just ensure the water does not touch the bowl
You want the chocolate to have JUST melted - be really careful to not overcook it or it will go lumpy and you will have to start again
Once melted, pour it over the caramel layer and immediately sprinkle your nuts
Sprinkle with more flaky salt and leave to cool for a good hour
Once the chocolate is set and cool you can cut into chunks - a trick to cutting the perfect chunk is heating your knife in boiled water