As the days get shorter. the weather gets colder (and wetter) and now that the Halloween and bonfire festivities are done and dusted, my cake desires change from sunny coconut or light lemon to much darker, stickier goodies. Festive baking starts to dominate my thinking. My Christmas cakes are baked and my Christmas puddings are steamed and tasted. They are now maturing in a dark cupboard with weekly injections of brandy for the 4 Christmas cakes. My plans for Christmas dinner and other sweet treats are coming along nicely and regular fondant and royal icing piping trials are taking up a lot of my time and energy. To keep the energy levels topped up and my sweet tooth sated (and Master Vander-Cave happy) I made some deliciously sticky, chocolatey, Millionaires shortbread. In the past I used the recipe on the back of a Nestle condensed milk tin which involved smashing up shop bought shortbread. this time I made my own shortbread, mainly because I didn't have any shortbread in the house and the shop was too far to go on a cold dark winters afternoon. I used Delia's shortbread recipe from her complete illustrated cookery course which made a nice thick buttery shortbread base which I baked in my silicone baking tin for ease removal of the completed biscuit confection.
For the shortbread:
50g caster sugar
175g plain flour
For the caramel and chocolate topping:
150g dark brown soft sugar
397g can Carnation condensed milk
200g dark chocolate
Beat the butter until creamy. I use my food processor for this.
Stir in the caster sugar and then sift in the plain flour. Process until a dough is formed. The dough is pressed in the 20cm square baking tin and baked at 150C for half an hour until firm and slightly coloured. Leave in the tin until cold.
Whilst the shortbread is cooling make the caramel. Heat the sugar and butter in a non-stick pan, gently stirring until melted. Add the Carnation condensed milk and bring to a rapid boil, stirring continuously. Cook for a minute or so or until the filling has thickened.
Pour the caramel over the shortbread base. Cool, then chill until set.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Pour the dark chocolate over the caramel and return to fridge until chocolate is set. Cut into squares and enjoy!
For those of you who are looking for Christmas cake and pudding recipes you can access my recipes for these here:
Once I have decorated my christmas cakes I will post this years designs. I hope they will be a bit more exciting than usual too make use of my new fondant skills!