This has to be one of the recipes I am asked most for. Some call them “Caramel Squares’, others “Wellington Slices” (never understood that one) but to us these are always “Toffee Shortcake”. My mother made these as a real treat, they would make appearances at birthday parties or for special occasions. I always remember the mild panic as she stirred the caramel, not QUITE sure when it was ‘done’ – she used to have glasses of cold water to test a drop and did on occasion scrape the whole lot back into he saucepan to start again. I also remember an early piece of advise from her to buy the correct Sweetened Carnation Condensed Milk and not the unsweetened evaporated milk. Which would not turn into caramel no matter how long you stirred.
Not that much to them really other than you cannot cheat and buy the caramel already made in the tin, the Caramel must be made. And my personal taste (and my official tasters agree) that this must have cheap cooking chocolate poured on thickly – I have tried Green & Blacks best purist chocolate but nothing beats good old fashioned ‘three for price of one’ cooking chocolate. You can see from the photo above, this has been adapted a bit since I first wrote it down. This is my final version.
5oz butter (I prefer to margarine)
8oz plain flour
3 oz castor sugar
Heat oven to 180C
Blitz in a food processor (or ‘crumble with finger tips’ until if looks like fine bread crumbs – I cannot remember when I last did it by hand!). Then spread the crumble mixture in a parchment lined swiss roll tin (I use a 13″ X 9″ tin or there abouts). Bake in oven for about 25 mins until golden brown.
1 tin Carnation Sweetened Condensed milk
2 dessert spoons Golden Syrup
2 oz Castor Sugar
2 oz butter
Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer, stirring continuously. (don’t worry if ‘burnt bits’ float to the surface – they’ll be covered by chocolate later, but turn the heat down of this happens, your rushing it!) Simmer and stir for approx 10 minutes or until the caramel is a rich dark toffee colour. Pour onto the Shortcake base and spread.
8 / 10oz cooking chocolate
Melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water or melt in the microwave carefully (chocolate burns very easily when being melted in the microwave). Cover the caramel with the chocolate. Allow to cool – NOT IN THE FRIDGE – if you cool it in the fridge, the chocolate will have a very odd ‘grey’ colour. It will taste fine but doesn’t look as good.