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Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread, a pimped up version of a classic.

My friend Tora and I have been making salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread for years – both of us are obsessed with salted caramel. But then I thought, there’s not many things in life that aren’t improved by a little peanut butter. So I did this. And it was good.

You can easily omit the salt from the caramel if you want as the peanut butter will most likely be a bit salty anyway. But if you are using it, always add your salt last and in tiny amounts, tasting as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away if you add too much!

This is pretty rich, so I definitely suggest cutting it into small portions.

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread

For the peanut butter shortbread:

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 30g smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a tin (approximately 25x20cm) with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and sugar. You can use an electric whisk for this but if your butter is nice and soft then it won’t take much work with a wooden spoon. Once well mixed, add the flour and rub it in with your finger tips until it’s the consistency of bread crumbs. Tip the mixture into your lined tin and squash and press it down and into the edges of the pan until you have an even layer – use your knuckles or the bag of a large spoon. Prick it all over with a fork and put it in the oven. Bake at 180C for 5 minutes, then turn down to 150C and bake for a further 30-35 minutes until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool a little before you’re ready to apply the caramel.

For the peanut butter salted caramel:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 397g condensed milk (that’s the standard size in the UK. It wont matter if it’s a few grams more or less)
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • up to 1 tsp sea salt

You can make the caramel whilst the shortbread is in the oven. In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the condensed milk and golden syrup and continue to heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Seriously, don’t be tempted to leave this and do something else – the high sugar content means that it can easily catch and burn – I’ve made that mistake in the past and it’s frustrating and a waste when you have to chuck a batch of burnt caramel away, not to mention the mess it makes of the pan. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, hot enough to boil but not vigorously, and be careful as you don’t want to get splashed with it as it’s super hot. The caramel is ready when it’s, well, caramel coloured. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Before adding any salt, taste a little bit (blow on it first and be very careful not to burn your tongue). Add the salt a pinch at a time, tasting after each addition. Once you’re happy with it, pour it over the cooked and slightly cooled shortbread. Spread it out with a spatula until it’s reached the edges and you have an even layer. Leave it to cool, or even put it in the fridge to set up a bit before you add the final layer of chocolate.

For the chocolate:

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate

(To be honest, it won’t matter if you just use milk chocolate, but I prefer a mix of milk and dark) Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in short, 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between zaps.

Once melted, pour over the shortbread and spread it to the edges. Give it a shake and a sharp rap on the kitchen counter to get a nice even finish. Leave to set in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Remove from the pan, peel off the greaseproof paper and use a big sharp knife to cut into portions (I got 32 pieces out of this). This should keep well for 3-5 days in an airtight container, but I doubt it’ll last that long once anybody tries it!

If you’re as big a fan of salted caramel as I am, check out my other recipes here. Or if it’s peanut butter that floats your boat, have a peek at these.

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Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

I’ve not blogged for a while, but it’s not for lack of baking, just lots of other things going on that have kept me from the keyboard. Hopefully I’ll be able to get lots of recipes added in a short space of time to make up for it.

To kick things off, here are some lovely meringues I made when I was cooking dinner for friends recently. I served them with good vanilla ice cream, warm mixed berries (just a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket, heated through with a couple of tablespoons of sugar), salted caramel sauce and chocolate hazelnut sauce. Meringues are great for entertaining as you can make them several days in advance and (once cooled) store them in an air tight container or tin.

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 30g dark chocolate, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar, but white wine or sherry vinegar would be fine)
  • 100g flaked almonds, toasted

Heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper (when the meringue is made, used little blobs of it to secure the paper to the baking trays). Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until you get to the stiff peak stage. Still whisking, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to get completely incorporated before adding more. Continue to whisk until all the sugar is mixed in and the meringue is white and glossy.

Add the cocoa and dark chocolate, folding in with either a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. DO NOT use a wooden spoon or other blunt kitchen tool as you’ll lose too much of the air you’ve spent so long adding. You can be quite swift and firm when folding in, but make sure you don’t leave any pockets of dry ingredient unmixed. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and toasted almonds and fold these through. Dollop mounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between as they will spread and settle a little.

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Place the meringues in the oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 150C. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The meringues will be crisp on the outside, possibly even a little cracked, with a chewy, marshmallowy middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and use the same day, or you can store them in an airtight (and completely dry) container for 3 or 4 days.

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

To make an easy chocolate sauce, heat 300ml double cream to just below boiling, break in 150g milk chocolate (or a mix of milk and plain) and stir until melted. Add a tiny pinch of salt and, if you have it, a tablespoon or two of liqueur (I used hazelnut, but orange, mint, brandy or Baileys would all be perfect). Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over almost anything for instant deliciousness!

If you want to make your own salted caramel sauce, I swear by Nigella Lawson’s recipe and you can find it here. And if you want more meringue goodness, take a look at my other recipes.

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream – goes brilliantly with brownies

There may be some very random recipes coming up in the next month – I’m moving and trying to use up stuff in my kitchen cupboards so I don’t have to take it with me. I made this in order to use a tin of caramel and a tub of cream (I bought it to make something else but realised I needed a longer expiry date). It’s ridiculously easy, requires just three ingredients and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. Add the salt in small increments, tasting as you go, but bear in mind that the flavours will be somewhat muted once frozen so be bold. Also, whilst a tin of Carnation Caramel (as I used) is 397g, there’s no need to be quite so precise with your measurements if weighing out from a larger jar.

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 500ml double cream
  • 397g ready made caramel/dulce de leche
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

In  a large bowl, whip the cream until it’s thick and forms soft peaks – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily when tapped on the side of the bowl. Stir the caramel to make it smooth, then add to the cream and fold in with a large spoon or spatula, trying to get rid of any big lumps ( a few small deposits of pure caramel through your ice cream won’t hurt!).

Sprinkle a little of the salt over the caramel cream – start with about half a teaspoon – and mix well. Try a bit to see if it’s to your taste, adding more salt a little at a time until it’s how you want it. Pour into a freezer-proof box with a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight. No need to keep taking it out and churning, it will set soft enough to be able to scoop just a few minutes after it’s taken out of the freezer. Delicious on it’s own, in a cone, or alongside warm apple pie or brownies!

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

Creamy Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

I’m heading to a friend’s for dinner this evening and volunteered to bring dessert. There are some lovely British strawberries in the shops now and the weather is glorious so I wanted to make something really fresh and summery. The addition of salted caramel sauce (I’ve used Nigella Lawson’s recipe) is just a little extra indulgence of my own obsession (I’ve already told you how much I love the stuff in my Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake recipe)!

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a saucepan giving them a bit of a swirl every now and again. Simmer for about three minutes. Add the cream and HALF the salt and stir everything together. Taste a little of the sauce (be careful not to burn your tongue) to see if it’s salty enough for you and add more of the salt if you think it needs it (I like mine salty but it’s all down to preference). Bear in mind that when the sauce is cool it won’t taste as sweet or salty as when it’s warm. Once you’re satisfied with it, leave to cool.

For the roulade:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • 250g double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 250g strawberries

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

Remove the stalks and chop your strawberries into small chunks; set to one side until needed. In a large bowl, whip together the cream, icing sugar (sifted) and vanilla. I recommend using a hand whisk; it really doesn’t take that long and it’s so easy to over-whip with an electric whisk and end up verging on butter. You’re aiming for cream that holds the whisk, but easily plops off with a tap on the side of the bowl. You’re now ready to turn this all into a roulade!

Slather the cream over the meringue, then sprinkle/spread the chopped strawberries over the cream. Using a teaspoon, drizzle a little (about 2 tablespoons) of the salted caramel sauce over the top. With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Serve with the remaining salted caramel sauce for your guests to drizzle over their slice of lusciousness at will!

You can keep any left over salted caramel sauce in the fridge for a week or so. It’s great on loads of things – try with vanilla ice cream, a baked apple or a warm chocolate brownie.

Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake

Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake

Moist and sticky Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake

One of my favourite things in the world is salted caramel. If you haven’t tried it, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. It’s like normal caramel but the salt intensifies the flavour and makes it less sickly sweet. Whenever I’m shopping I’m constantly on the look out for all things salted caramel flavoured, or just caramel products that I can add salt to. Waitrose came up trumps in the caramel stakes recently, where I bought Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel (caramel spread that I have to use every ounce of will power to not eat straight from the jar) and Vahine Nappage Caramel (a liquid caramel sauce), both of which I’ve used in this recipe. If you can’t find caramel syrup, substitute golden syrup; you can easily replace the caramel spread with Carnation Caramel which is widely available.

Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp liquid caramel or golden syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • half tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 large eating apples (I used Pink Lady)
  • 3 heaped tbsp caramel
  • couple of large pinches sea salt

Heat oven to 170C and grease and line the base of a 9″ loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper. Cream together the butter, sugars, liquid caramel or golden syrup and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg, followed by half the flour then the second egg and the remaining flour, baking powder, cinnamon and one large pinch of salt. Add the milk and give it another mix until smooth. Grate one of the apples into the mix, stirring until everything is well combined.

Finely slice the second apple and arrange the slices in a circle on the base of your prepared tin (you might find any little off cuts useful for covering the middle of the pan). Dollop the caramel in the centre of your tin and spread out a little with a spatula – it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t reach the edge of tin at all as it will spread as it heats in the oven. Sprinkle the remaining pinch of sea salt over the caramel and apples in the tin, then spoon the cake mix on top and smooth it out so everything is well covered. Try and spread more of the cake mix towards the edges of the tin so there’s a bit of a dip in the centre – what is currently the top of the cake will become the bottom so you want to compensate for it rising more in the middle so it’s as flat as possible once cooked. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until golden brown. You can tell the cake is done as it will be coming away from the edge of the tin and will spring back when you press it lightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

To serve, turn out of the tin and invert on to your serving plate, being very careful to keep your apples in place when you remove the base. I had lots of gooey, caramel goodness left on my greaseproof so I scraped it off and smeared it back on the middle of the cake – don’t want to waste any! I must also confess that as I like my salted caramel on the heavily salted side, I sprinkled just a little more on the cake just before serving.

This is particularly nice served with a dollop of cold cream or Greek yogurt, or you could warm a few tablespoons of caramel and use that as a pouring sauce.

Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake

It starts as the top, but then becomes the bottom of Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake