No Bake Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

This isn’t really shortbread as it has a cookie crumb base like a cheesecake, but its not a tray bake either as its not baked, just assembled and allowed to set.

Malteser Caramel Shortbread

My husband loves caramel shortbread and has been asking for ages for me to make some.

My youngest son William, loves the Malteser topped crunchy traybakes from Costa, so I thought I would combine the two and make them both happy.

I have tried the base made with both Maryland double chocolate chip cookies and Oreos – bashed to smithereens.  The verdict was that the chocolate chip cookies were the preferred base, so this is what I have used here.  Any cookies can be used for the base, including digestive or gingernuts, or you can even bake a proper shortbread base yourself.  This however, is much quicker…!

Ingredients:
Crust:

2 x 100g packs of Maryland Double Chocolate Chip cookies (the purple packet) – crushed
85g butter – melted

Caramel:
1 397 can of Condensed Milk
150g butter
75g Dark Muscovado Sugar
75g Soft Light Brown Sugar

Marbled Chocolate Top:
2 x 100g packs of 70% Good Quality Chocolate – broken into pieces
1 x 100g pack of Good Quality White Chocolate – broken into pieces
1 pack of Maltesers

Prepare a 20cm tin by lining the base and sides with parchment or cling film will also do the job.  The finished squares look best if you use one with square corners

Method:
Mix the crushed cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press into the base of your lined tin.  place in the freezer while you make the caramel.

Melt the butter and sugars together until the sugar has disolved.  Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.  The caramel with thicken and turn golden.  Leave for a minute so it cools slightly and then pour onto the waiting cookie crumb base.  This needs to be left to cool completely in order to set before you add the final layer of chocolate.  If you can’t wait, then put it in the freezer.

When your caramel is firm to the touch, place the dark chocolate in the microwave and heat for around 30 seconds before stirring, then keep heating for 10 seconds and stirring until almost melted.  Keep stirring and the residual heat will melt the final few pieces.  Be careful not to burn the chocolate.  You can of course do this in a bowl over simmering water, but I have had more than one batch seize up on me, so I always melt it in the microwave nowadays.  Repeat with the white chocolate.

When the chcolate has cooled a little, pour over the dark chocolate, making sure to coat the whole of the caramel.  Spoon blobs of the white chocolate on the top of the dark chocolate and swirl with a spoon to create a marbled effect.  Place Maltesers in the middle of where your squares will be when you cut them out.

Leave until the chocolate has just set and using a very sharp knife to cut into squares.  I run the knife under very hot water and dry to help go through the chocolate.  you don’t have to go all the way through at this point, its just easier to cut the chocolate at this point.

Leave in the fridge until completely chilled before gently lifting out the parchment or cling film and do your final cut with the knife and cut into individual squares.

Caramel Corn

The perfect food for a rainy Saturday afternoon with a movie

popcorn2

I normally make buttered, salted popcorn, but for an extra special treat, I made this crunchy caramel corn which is slow cooked in the oven to form a sweet, buttery shell around the popcorn. I used some gourmet blue corn I found when out shopping one day and used my hot air popper to pop the corn. If you don’t have one, you can pop your corn the old fashioned way in a heavy bottomed pan, or buy microwave popcorn and pop it that way.

Ingredients:
¾ cup of unpopped popping corn (one large handful!)
4 tbs butter
½ cup light brown sugar – packed
Pinch of salt

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C/300 degrees F

Spread out the popped corn evenly over a non-stick baking sheet pan, or a buttered baking tin. You may need to use two baking trays if you don’t have a large one.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the butter, sugar and salt and bring to the boil until the caramel is golden.

Carefully pour the very hot caramel mixture over the corn and use a spatula to toss to coat. Spread the corn out again evenly and bake for 40 minutes, turning it every 10 minutes to ensure it is completely coated in a shell of crunchy caramel.

When it is ready, keep the children away from it and leave to cool before it is devoured!

You can also add peanuts, cashews or brazil nuts to the corn.

corn bowl