Approx cost: ~€7
Approx calories (per square, if cut into 40 pieces): ~240
Approx cooking, preparation, and cooling time: 6 hours
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Here’s a warning to start this post off with… rather more of a “Public Service Announcement”, one could say. If you are on a diet, do not make these under any circumstances! There, now that’s out of the way I can go on to talk about this tray of 9700 calorie awesomeness. Some of you may remember a long time ago I made Millionaire’s Flapjacks – What makes them “Millionaire’s” you ask? Well, the fact that they have a thick, delicious layer of caramel sauce and chocolate on top probably has something to do with it. But anyway – back to the flapjacks. So I made these, and they weren’t bad, though when eating them a couple of things became apparent.
Firstly – there wasn’t nearly enough caramel on them as there could have been, and secondly, let’s face it – I kind of failed at the chocolate. Chocolate should not be a paste when hot. I learned a valuable lesson that day that actually, water-baths aren’t actually as over-rated as I initially suspected. Sure, I still melt the chocolate sometimes directly in a pan, but you have to be careful – oh so careful – and quite frankly using a water bath is just easier.
I thought about doing a “redux” style post on the flapjacks but then decided against it. Why bother when there is another, albeit quite similar, perfectly decent
EnglishScottish treat which is just begging to be made. (I just looked it up – apparently it’s believed Millionaire’s Shortbread is Scottish in origin… who’d ‘a’ thunk it?!). As I mentioned above, the entire tray’s-worth is about 9700 calories. I cut it up into 40 pieces, which are about 2 large bites, or 4 “regular” bites, although you could easily go a bit smaller. This is sweet, tasty, and horrifically unhealthy, but it’s well worth making if you’re not familiar with it. Many cake shops and bakeries in England will often sell slabs of this stuff, though the shortbread is spongey and really doesn’t taste buttery, the caramel is tasteless, and the chocolate tastes artificial, so do yourself a favour – make this!
I know I stated recently that I’d be trying to go back to basics and keep everything at €5 or below, but I just had to share this, and to be fair, the things which really pushed the price over was the chocolate. If you buy store-brand chocolate, and try and trim costs on other things you can easily keep this below 5 euros I think. You’ll need a baking tray to make these, of course – I used one which is about 3cm deep, 31cm long by 23cm wide (yeah, I know – weird dimensions! (It’s quite an old tray)). The thing which takes the most time in this recipe is the creation of the dulce de leche.
If you’ve opened a can of condensed milk before, and seen it all white and goopy inside, there’s something hugely satisfying at opening a can after 4 hours of boiling and seeing it all thick and caramelised. That said – if time is a premium for you, you can buy dulce de leche ready made. It’s a big time saver, although I would suspect it will be an expensive way of buying it, compared to a couple of cans of good old condensed milk. As always, with chocolate heavy things, make sure you buy a chocolate which you can stand to eat. Using bad chocolate will seriously impact the quality of the end product.
I’d also like to thank Karen from Back Road Journal who very kindly passed on the “Liebster” blog award to me in her recent post. I’d actually received this not so long ago, so I’ll link back to that post where I nominated 5 other bloggers here. Thank you so much Karen – I truly enjoy reading your blog. Your recent travels, as well as your posts about your house and surround area where you live have been genuinely pleasurable reading!
Have a great almost-weekend-thursday everyone and enjoy!
[learn_more caption=”Video Recipe” state=”open”]
For the Shortbread
- 360g Plain Flour
- 250g Butter
- 120g Caster Sugar
For the Caramel Topping
- 2 x 400g Cans of Sweetened, Condensed Milk (or 1 x 800g Can if available, or 800g Dulce de Leche)
- 100g Butter
- 6 tbsps Double/Heavy Cream
For the Chocolate Topping
- 400g good quality Plain or Milk Chocolate (per your preference)
- ~100ml Cream
- 70g Butter
- If you’re using ready-made dulce de leche then you can skip this step, but if not, take your cans (or can) of sweetened, condensed milk and punch a few holes in the top using a cork-screw or sharp knife. Just 2 or 3 holes will suffice. Take an old saucepan (you’ll need an old one because some some of the milk will bubble out of the holes, mix with the water and the cans and make a mess all over the inside of the pan. It will wash off, but you’ll have to give it some muscle!) and place the tin(s) inside. Fill the pan with water until the water level is almost at the top of the cans and then place on the hob and bring to the boil. Keep boiling for 4 hours. You’ll need to replenish the water about once every 20-30 minutes as it will evaporate rapidly. Make sure you don’t let the water level drop too much. Sissi from WithAGlass.com mentions that she makes dulce de leche in the same way, but without piercing the tins, and keeping them completely covered in water. This sounds like a much cleaner method of doing it, although I’ve had too much experience with bursting cans of beans in my life (once is enough!) so I’m a little afraid to try this myself!
- While the cans are boiling away, pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and we’ll start making the shortbread. Mix the butter and sugar together to form a paste and then mix in the flour to form a slightly crumbly dough. Press the dough as neatly as possible into your baking tray. If the tray is not non-stick then you may want to consider greasing and flouring the tray very lightly. The dough is very rich in butter anyway, but all the same it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fork the surface of the dough lightly all over before placing into the pre-heated oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
- After four hours has elapsed, remove the cans of condensed milk from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so. We’ll now make the caramel sauce so in a clean pan melt the butter gently and mix in the cream. Open the cans, drain off any water which may remain on top of the dulce de leche by dripping through the holes, and then spoon out the mixture into the butter/cream mixture. Gently heat the mixture through, stirring all the time, until it starts to bubble and thicken. Pour the contents of the pan over the shortbread and smooth out to fill all corners and make it as smooth as possible. Set aside to allow the tray to cool down.
- After the caramel has been cooling for about an hour we’ll move on to the final stage – the chocolate topping. Break up the chocolate into squares, and then heat the cream in a pan on the stove over medium heat until almost boiling, then remove from the heat. Add in the chocolate to the cream and stir until smooth and glossy, then add in the butter, stirring again until completely dissolved and blended. In case you’re wondering, the butter allows the chocolate to set with a glossy sheen than it normally would. Pour the contents over the top of the caramel and smooth out as neatly as possible to evenly cover the caramel topping.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so before placing into the refrigerator. Check the centre of the tray periodically (this section of the chocolate will set last). When the chocolate here is beginning to get firm, cut the tray of shortbread into appropriately sized pieces using a cold knife, wiping it between each cut. Return the tray to the refrigerator until completely set before removing each piece from the tray and storing in a decently sized container. The flavours will meld after 24 hours or so, which is when the shortbread is best! Enjoy with a nice cup of tea, and try not to think about the calories! 🙂