Friday, 21 October 2016

Spider-web salted caramel millionaire's shortbread

For the quarter-final of the Telegraph Bake Off, the theme was biscuits.

How do you wow with biscuits? thought I. It was quite the challenge.

So in a bid to impress my colleagues in a biscuit-based (literally) fashion, I decided to make millionaires' shortbread.

And after a bit of Pinterest browsing for inspo, my mind was made up: individual spider-web salted caramel millionaire's shortbread it would be.
It's a serious business, the Telegraph Bake Off. Well I'm taking it seriously anyway. Impressing your colleagues with baked goods is the way to career success, right?

But I hadn't actually made millionaires' shortbread for years, and with neither time nor ingredients to spare, I couldn't afford a kitchen disaster.

Fortunately, no such disaster occurred and my salted caramel millionaires' shortbread have got me through to the semi-final, week!

(Aside: where does the apostrophe go? Is it the shortbread of just one millionaire? Or multiple? I need to know!)

There's a classic crumbly shortbread base, a generous layer of velvety smooth salted caramel, and smooth chocolate to top it all off, with the sea salt stopping everything from being too sickly.
I must say, I actually impressed myself with these.

The design looks tricky but it's actually super simple - perfect for Halloween, no?
I used Green & Black's chocolate because it's fantastic and I'm sort of in love with the milk chocolate sea salt bar, but you could also use another milk choc and add a pinch of sea salt. Oh, and the G&B white chocolate is also fabulous because it's vanilla-y too.

Anyway, make these, have fun, enjoy them, love them.

And wish me luck for the semi-final!

This recipe makes 12.


90g unsalted butter at room temp
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour

90g light brown muscovado sugar
90g salted butter
320g condensed milk
a generous pinch of sea salt

200g sea salt milk chocolate (or standard milk chocolate and add sea salt)
75g white chocolate


1. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases and heat the oven to 180C.

2. First make the shortbread: cream together the butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until smooth and light. Fold in the flour and mix together with your hands until a crumbly dough forms. Divide equally between the paper cases and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
3. Bake in the oven for 12-13 minutes before removing to cool - leave in the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

4. Once the shortbread is cool, make the caramel: in a non-stick pan gently melt together the condensed milk, butter, sugar and salt, stirring as you go. Once the butter and sugar has all melted, turn up the heat a touch to bring to a gentle boil. Stir continuously for 5-6 minutes until thickened.
5. Whilst still hot, dollop a generous spoonful of the caramel on to each shortbread base, dividing it equally between them - it should be runny enough to level out by itself - and add an extra sprinkle of sea salt to each. Leave the caramel to set and cool completely.
6. To make the chocolate topping, carefully melt both of the chocolates separately either in the microwave or in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Spoon the white chocolate into a piping bag (or a freezer bag if you're budget like me) and snip off the teensiest hole in the end.
7. Working with a couple at a time (so the chocolate doesn't set), cover each caramel shortbread with a generous spoonful of milk chocolate. Carefully pipe three consecutive rings of white chocolate on top, then use a toothpick or a skewer to drag lines from the centre to the edges, wiping the end clean after each line, thus creating the spiderweb effect. Complete for all shortbreads.

8. Leave to set and you're done! If you're in a particularly warm clime, you may need to pop your shortbreads in the fridge, but they're much better kept at room temperature. Enjoy!

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