Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Caramel Shortbread

caramel shortbreads, aka millionaire shortbreadsCaramel shortbreads are also known as millionaire shortbreads because of their rich flavour. The first caramel shortbread I had was in a small suburb of Glasgow called Wishaw, where my wife’s family is from. We stopped in a very unassuming coffee shop on Main Street as it was a couple doors away from the apartment her great grandfather was born in. My wife immediately ordered the tea and shortbread special as it seemed fitting, but I noticed something called a caramel shortbread on the menu. My wife's shortbread came out quickly but the waitress said that mine would be a little longer as she was waiting for the chocolate to dry. I didn't even know it had chocolate in it! When it came, it was a delicious surprise that I accidently forgot to share with anyone else. Hence, I felt a little obligated to make a caramel shortbread of my own to share with my family. I changed things slightly by making a brown sugar shortbread with a homemade caramel sauce. The brown sugar added a little flavour and a bit of a crunch, but it can definitely be substituted with white sugar for a traditional shortbread.

The Ingredients: Caramel Shortbreads
Makes 1 dozen, prep time 40 minutes, baking time 30 minutes, cooling time 1 hour 30 minutes

Shortbreads:
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
Pinch of finely ground sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 ounces of milk chocolate chopped

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

To make the shortbreads, start by blending the brown sugar for about 5 minutes on high speed in a food processor of coffee grinder.

Whip the butter with an electric blender until creamy and smooth.

Combine the salt, brown sugar, cornstarch, flour and sift in to the butter.

On a floured surface work the mix until it forms a dough this will take a little work and it may not seem like it will come together without more liquid, but keep working at it and it will be great!

Roll the dough into a layer about half an inch thick. The dough makes about 12 pieces 1 inch by 2 inches but feel free to make whatever shape you want.

Place in the oven on a cookie sheet (I suggest using clay or silpat to eliminate any premature browning on the bottoms). Bake for 30 minutes and let cool for about an hour before adding the toppings.

caramel drizzle on the shortbreadsTo make the caramel, combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar in a saucepan with high sides (when you add the cream it can boil up quite high). Melt it over low heat while stirring, this will take about 5 minutes.

Once all the sugar is dissolved remove it from the heat, add the cream and mix well.

Strain the caramel sauce through a sieve to remove any pieces that crystallized when added the cream.

Let the caramel cool for about 10-20 minutes and drizzle over the centre of each shortbread. With a butter knife, gently spread the caramel to the edges.

Place the shortbreads in the fridge.

In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate over very low heat stirring consistently. Remove it from the heat just before it has all melted and continue stirring until it has entirely melted.

Remove the shortbreads form the fridge and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Again, use a butter knife to spread the chocolate to each corner. Place the cookies back in the fridge for about 10 minutes and enjoy!