Thursday, 14 April 2011

Granny's Millionaires Shortbread

When I was younger and there was a school holiday I would be with my Granny in her kitchen. We made everything together and it was almost always successful. We still make things together now and my Grandad still sits in the lounge wondering what on earth we will come out of the kitchen with next. He seems happy to be taste tester!
We had decided to make millionaires shortbread because I loved it so much and still do. The shortbread went in the oven and the waiting game began as the house filled with delicious smells. We were all licking our lips. The caramel was made all golden and creamy and got spread on top of the shortbread like a blanket. We waited some more. The chocolate was melted and spooned generously out over the top. Some more waiting took place.
With the chocolate set, the kettle was on. The tea was in the pot and the milk in the cups. My Granny had had the foresight to cut the shortbread into pieces before the caramel and chocolate had set and three glorious pieces were put on a plate. 
It is a good thing that neither of my grandparents have false teeth. The hardness of that caramel would have ensured we were finding bits of false enamel in the lounge for months to come. I was at the age where loose teeth were commonplace and I'm surprised I didn't lose them all with the first bite. We all looked at each other, somewhat relieved at the lack of shattering teeth noises and decided we would give our best efforts to the birds. Who knows how many beaks got broken. 
As far as I'm concerned, if my Granny had had a caramel failure then there was no way I could be successful. She has culinary bravery that I know not. However, despite all my concerns I tried it again. 

If you want to play toffee roulette, then here's how. 
You'll need to beat together 125g margarine with 75g caster sugar. When fluffy, sieve in 50g cornflour and 150g plain flour. Bring it together how you want your shortbread to be. I like mine crumbly so I leave it like big breadcrumbs. Press into a greased tin and bake at 150C for 30-40 minutes.
For the dreaded caramel, put 100g margarine, 75g caster sugar, 1tbsp golden syrup and 1/4 small can of evaporated milk into a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil, (it smells like everything good is happening in the pan) boil it for 10 minutes and do not abandon it. Stir it continuously. It doesn't matter if the doorbell rings or the dog wants to go out because you'll feel far worse regret from abandoning your caramel. Be careful as the mixture tends to gain volume with alarming ferociousness. After 7-8 minutes it will darken in colour and you really need to make sure it doesn't catch at the bottom. 
Perhaps I'm taking the caramel part a little seriously but I wasn't risking losing my precious gnashers. Spoon the caramel out onto the shortbread base and spread out with the back of the spoon. Melt yourself some chocolate - I went for dark but whatever is your favourite - and pour this on top of the caramel. 
Lovely jubbly. To say I was chuffed would be an understatement, I was stupendously pleased with myself and promptly packed the shortbread into a tin and took it to my grandparents. We enjoyed it immensely with a nice cup of tea and all breathed a sigh of relief as our tongues confirmed the presence of all our molars. 

All That I'm Eating

This post is also published in the USA. To see the stateside version, click here

9 comments:

  1. oooh, look at this, it's a stunner!... I made some recently and crushed salted peanuts into the caramel and it was fabulous... love the story to go with this, so lovely. x

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  2. Nicely done. I always loved eating with my Grandparents as well. They had "the touch"! :)

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  3. What a wonderful memory and time cooking and eating such gorgeous treats with your grandmother!

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  4. I love this slice, I've never made it but always buy it when I get a chance.

    I remember baking with my grannie too! Happy times :)

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  5. What treasured memories...cooking with your grandmother. These squares take shortbread to another delicious level. Love the caramel and chocolate combination.

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  6. Good story. I haven't made caramel as you've described it, but I have managed to burn caramel on more than one occasion and it really isn't pleasant. About time I gave Millionaires shortbread a go I reckon - yours certainly looks very tempting.

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  7. What a wonderful cookie and what fun to have been with such good company in the kitchen. Your shortbread looks great. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  8. great recipe and lovely lovely story

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  9. Thank you for your comments. Hope you give it a go soon.

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